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Full text of "The life of Benjamin Disraeli, earl of Beaconsfield"

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The Late Maurice Hutton, 

M.A., LL.D. 

Principal of University College 










From the portrait at Hughenden, painted in 1873 fij/ G. F. Middleton. 











Read no history, nothing but 
biography, for that is life without 

Stan fork 


All rights reserved 


Set up and electrotyped. Published, April, 1920 



PREFACE . . . . , . . . . , . ix 

I. THE IRISH CHURCH. 1868 ...... 1 

II. DEFEAT AND RESIGNATION. 1868 . . . . 56 

III. RESERVE IN OPPOSITION. 1868-1871 . . . . 102 f 

IV. LOTHAIR. 1869-1870 . . , . . . . ' . 148 

V. THE TURN OF THE TIDE. 1872-1873 . . . . 171 | 
VI. BEREAVEMENT. 1872-1873 '. .. .-;... . 221 


1873-1875 ' . . . ." . . . .237 

VIII. POWER. 1874 .. ( . ....... 271 


1874 . . ' . 301 

""" X. SOCIAL REFORM. 1874-1875 359 

"" XI. AN IMPERIAL FOREIGN POLICY. 1874-1875 . . 406 I 

XII. SUEZ CANAL AND ROYAL TITLE. 1875-1876 . . 439 / 






From a portrait by C. F. Middleton, at Hughenden. 


From a portrait by W. E. Miller, at Hughenden. 


From a portrait after J. Swinton, at Hughenden. 

"CRITICS" 170 

From the cartoon by Sir John Tenniel, in Punch. 


From a portrait after Sir E. Landseer, R.A., at Hughenden. 


From a portrait after Sir F. Grant, P.R.A., at Hughenden. 

From a drawing by Mrs. Blackburn, at Hughenden. 


From a portrait by Van Havermaet, at Hughenden. 

From a photograph by H. W. Taunt, Oxford. 

From a portrait at Hughenden. 


From a photograph. 

From a photograph by the London Stereoscopic Co. 


From a portrait at New Court. 



It was originally intended that the story of the last 
phase of Disraeli's life should be completed in one volume. 
This would only have been possible if his management 
of the Eastern Question, the most outstanding feature 
of his great Administration, were treated merely in 
general terms; a course which, .however unsatisfactory 
in itself, appeared to be discreet and judicious, so long as 
Russia was our faithful ally in the war, and was governed 
by a friendly Sovereign, the grandson of that Emperor 
Alexander who was in antagonism- in the later seventies 
to Queen Victoria and to her Minister. But the Revolu- 
tion in Russia, the repudiation of the Alliance, and the 
murder of the Tsar have entirely changed the conditions. 
There can be now no reasons of international delicacy to 
prevent a full disclosure of Disraeli's Eastern policy ; with- 
out which disclosure, indeed, the record of his life and ac- 
complishment would be seriously imperfect. While the 
course of history has thus tended to promote an extension 
of plan, there has also been placed unexpectedly at my dis- 
posal a great mass of important new material for the final 
eight years, 1873 to 1881. It has, therefore, become inevi- 
table to expand the proposed one last volume into the two 
volumes now submitted to the public. 

During more than half the period, 1868 to 1881, covered 
by these volumes, Disraeli was the First Minister of the 
Crown ; and the principal documents not hitherto accessible 
to the world, bearing on his public policy, must necessarily 
be his correspondence with Queen Victoria. His Majesty 
the King has graciously permitted me to make an extensive 



selection from these royal papers, and thus to illustrate and 
elucidate in an ample manner both the policy of the Min- 
ister and his relations to his Sovereign. I am deeply sen- 
sible of the magnitude of the benefit that the book has 
received through His Majesty's kindness, for which I desire 
to tender very dutiful acknowledgments. 

Only second to my obligations to the King are my in- 
debtedness and my gratitude to those who have afforded 
me access to the new material mentioned above. By the 
courtesy of the Bridgeman family, and, in particular, of the 
Dowager Lady Bradford, of Commander the Hon. Richard 
Orlando Beaconsfield Bridgeman, R.N., Beaconsfield's god- 
son and namesake, a gallant officer who has since given his 
life for his country, and of Lady Beatrice Pretyman, the 
present owner, I have been enabled to make copious use of 
the voluminous correspondence which Disraeli in his last 
years carried on with two sisters, Selina Lady Bradford 
and Anne Lady Chesterfield. The character of Disraeli's 
letters and of the intimacy between him and these ladies is 
fully explained in Volume V., chapter 7 ; and every subse- 
quent chapter in both volumes bears witness to the vital 
importance of the contribution thus made to Disraelian 
biography. Attention may perhaps be drawn here to one 
feature of this familiar correspondence: the highest in the 
land are often playfully alluded to in it under fanciful 
names. Thus Queen Victoria appears frequently as the 
Faery or Fairy, Disraeli's imagination conceiving of Her 
Majesty as a modern Queen Elizabeth, a nineteenth-century 
Faery Queen, so that he could write of and to her somewhat 
in the same romantic fashion as Spenser or Raleigh em- 
ployed in addressing and describing their magnificent 

I have to thank the Beaconsfield trustees for the con- 
tinuance of their confidence and encouragement; and to 
lament that death has once more caused a breach in their 
ranks: Mr. Leopold de Rothschild, whose marriage recep- 
tion in January, 1881, was among the last social functions 
which Beaconsfield attended, having passed away since 


Volume IV. was published. There are many others to 
whom I owe thanks either for permission to use letters, or 
for more direct assistance in the preparation of these vol- 
umes. I would especially mention Lord Derby, Lord San- 
derson, Lord Salisbury, Lord Iddesleigh, the Bishop of 
Worcester, Major Coningsby Disraeli, Mr. Norton Long- 
man, Mr. Murray, and my wife. 

It is with a sense of thankfulness and relief that I bring 
to a conclusion a biography, the publication of which has 
suffered so much through death and delay. Lord Rowton, 
Beaconsfield's literary executor ; Nathaniel Lord Rothschild 
and Sir Philip Rose, the original trustees of the Beacons- 
field estate; Mr. Moberly Bell, who, at the request of the 
trustees, undertook, on behalf of The Times, to arrange 
for the publication and to supply a biographer; and Mr. 
Monypenny, who projected the work and completed the first 
two volumes are all dead ; and further delay has been 
caused by illness and the war. The fact that two writers 
have been successively engaged upon the book has neces- 
sarily impaired its unity; though I have not consciously 
departed from the lines upon which Mr. Monypenny 
worked, save perhaps in making an even more extensive use 
of the wealth of Disraeli's letters at my command. Wher- 
ever possible, I have preferred to let Disraeli tell his own 
story, rather than to tell it for him. It is, I hope, a fair 
claim to make for these six volumes that, whatever their 
imperfections, they largely enable the reader to realise Dis- 
raeli's life from the inside, through the evidence of his 
familiar letters to wife, sister, and friends, as well as of his 
political and personal letters to his Sovereign and his col- 

This method of biography, of course, precludes brevity. 
But a large canvas is required to display with anything like 
justice the character and achievement of one who did so 
much, and who was so much ; who held the attention of the 
world, as man, author, Parliamentarian, and statesman, for 
nearly sixty years, from the publication of Vivian Grey 
till the last day of his life; whose career his rival Glad- 


stone pronounced to be the most remarkable, with the pos- 
sible exception of the younger Pitt, in our long Parliamen- 
tary history; who, apart from his political eminence, won 
a definite and distinguished place in literature ; and who, to 
adopt the apt words of a reviewer of the fourth of these 
volumes, was also ' one of the most original, interesting, 
and interested human beings who ever walked through the 
pageant of life.' Unlike as Disraeli was in most respects 
to the great Tory of a hundred years before him, Dr. John- 
son, he resembled him in being a unique figure of extraor- 
dinary and, I would fain believe, perennial human interest; 
one of those figures about whose personality and perform- 
ance the curiosity of the world remains ever active. It has 
been my aim, as it was Mr. Monypenny's, from the mass 
of papers bequeathed to Lord Rowton, and from an abun- 
dance of other original sources, to satisfv that curiosity. 

G. E. B. 

October, 1919. 



From February, 1868, till his death thirteen years later, 
Disraeli was the titular head, as he had long been the most 
vital force, of the Conservative party. But until after his 
victory at the polls in 1874 his authority was of an im- 
perfect character, liable to question and dispute. Lord 
Derby lived for a year and a half after his resignation; 
and throughout that period many of his old followers still 
looked upon him as their leader, with Disraeli as acting 
deputy; a position which, indeed, Disraeli himself had 
gracefully volunteered to accept, though Derby's common 
sense and good feeling had repudiated the suggestion. 1 
Derby's death, in 1869, converted Disraeli's regency over 
the party into actual sovereignty ; but the ill-fortune which 
had attended the Conservatives at the General Election 
in November, 1868, continued to discredit the foresight 
and diminish the prestige of the new Chief until the by- 
elections from 1871 onwards showed that the tide had 
turned. With success came general and unstinted confi- 
dence; and during the Administration of 18741880, Dis- 
raeli exercised as undisputed a sway over his followers, and 
as complete a control over Parliament, as ever was attained 
in this country by Minister or party-leader. The confidence 
of his party was not seriously shaken by the crushing defeat 
of 1880; he retained it in almost undiminished measure to 
the last day of his life. 

The nine months of his first Administration were, how- 

i See Vol. IV., p. 590. 


ever, a troubled and unsatisfactory time. Not that the 
unfavourable turn of events was due to the deficiencies of 
the Cabinet, which was constituted as follows : 

First Lord of the Treasury . . B. DISRAELI. 

Lord Chancellor . . . . LORD CAIRNS. 

Lord President . . . . DUKE OF MARLBOROUGH. 

Lord Privy Seal . . . . EARL OF MALMESBURY. 

Home Secretary . . . . GATHORNE HARDY. 

Foreign Secretary . . . . LORD STANLEY. 

Colonial Secretary . . . . DUKE OF BUCKINGHAM. 

War Secretary . . . . . . SIR JOHN PAKINGTON. 

Indian Secretary . . . . SIR STAFFORD NORTHCOTE. 

Chancellor of the Exchequer . . G. WARD HUNT. 

First Lord of the Admiralty . . HENRY J. L. CORRY. 

President of the Board of Trade . . DUKE OF RICHMOND. 

First Commissioner of Works ... LORD JOHN MANNERS. 

Chief Secretary for Ireland . . EARL OF MAYO. 

Though not so powerful as Derby's original Cabinet in 
July, 1866, it was still a formidable combination, contain- 
ing half a dozen members who were real statesmen, and 
several more who were experienced and competent adminis- 
trators. If it had lost Cranborne, it had gained Cairns; 
and its principal loss, that of Derby himself, did not affect 
the Chamber in which the battle was immediately to be 
fought, though it undoubtedly affected the ultimate tribunal, 
the electorate, who had regarded him with respect, though 
not with enthusiasm, for nearly forty years. But the most 
efficient Cabinet is of no avail in the face of an ad- 
verse, and united, Parliamentary majority. In Parliament 
Whigs, Liberals, Radicals, and Irish, taken all together, had 
a majority of sixty or seventy over the Conservatives ; and, 
with the settlement of the Reform question which had 
divided them, they would, however sore with one another, 
have a disposition to reunite in order to regain office. 

One aspect of the Parliamentary situation demands espe- 
cial notice. As Derby had been obliged by ill-health to 
give way to Disraeli, so Russell, owing to his increasing 
years, had retired this winter in favour of Gladstone. With 


the session of 1868 the protagonists of the two parties in the 
House of Commons stood out as the party leaders. Each 
admired and respected the great Parliamentary qualities of 
his rival ; but Gladstone's respect was combined with an alloy 
of deep moral disapprobation a frame of mind which 
was fostered by what Disraeli had called the ' finical and 
fastidious crew ' of High Anglicans among whom Gladstone 
familiarly moved. To them and to him Disraeli's eleva- 
tion was an offence. A brilliant journalist shrewdly di- 
agnosed the Gladstonian temper of the moment: 

One of the most grievous and constant puzzles of King David 
was the prosperity of the wicked and the scornful, and the same 
tremendous moral enigma has come down to our own days. . . . 
Like the Psalmist, the Liberal leader may well protest that verily 
he has cleansed his heart in vain and washed his hands in in- 
nocency; all day long he has been plagued by Whig Lords and 
chastened every morning by Radical manufacturers; as blame- 
lessly as any curate he has written about Ecce Homo; and he has 
never made a speech, even in the smallest country town, without 
calling out with David, How foolish am I, and how ignorant! 
For all this, what does he see? The scorner who sbot out the lip 
and shook the head at him across the table of the House of Com- 
mons last session has now more than heart could wish; his eyes, 
speaking in an Oriental manner, stand out with fatness, he speak- 
eth loftily, and pride compasseth him about as a chain. . . . 
That the writer of frivolous stories about Vivian Grey and Con- 
ingsby should grasp the sceptre before the writer of beautiful and 
serious things about Ecce Homo the man who is epigrammatic, 
flashy, arrogant, before the man who never perpetrated an epi- 
gram in his life, is always fervid, and would as soon die as 
admit that he had a shade more brain than his footman the 
Radical corrupted into a Tory before tbe Tory purified and 
elevated into a Radical is not this enough to make an honest 
man rend his mantle and shave his head and sit down among 
the ashes inconsolable ? l 

But inaction in face of such a moral paradox would have 
been wholly out of keeping with Gladstone's vigorous char- 
acter. His ' teeth were set on edge,' as Gathorne Hardy 

^ Pall Mall Gazette, March 3, 1868. 


wrote, ( and he prepared to bite.' * It might be thought that 
the last session of an expiring Parliament a session which 
must be devoted mainly to the corollaries of Reform and to 
necessary administrative work would afford him little 
opportunity. There was, however, a weapon to his hand, 
but it was one which he had hitherto hesitated to grasp, so 
completely would its employment mark his severance from 
the most cherished of the ideas with which he entered pub- 
lic life. On the other side, nothing could recommend him 
so strongly to the party which he had now finally adopted 
as to brandish the sword of religious equality, even if only 
in Ireland. Gladstone's Church views had been the one 
great stumblingblock to complete sympathy with his new 
party ; and hitherto he had declined to associate himself with 
that attack on the Irish Establishment which had united 
Whigs (when in opposition), Radicals, and the Irish brigade 
ever since the days of Russell's motion in 1835 about the 
Appropriation Clause. He had, indeed, he has told us, 
regarded the position of the Irish Church as indefensible 
since 1863 ; but both in 1865 and in 1866 he had, as Min- 
ister, resisted motions against it, and when he was seeking 
re-election at Oxford in 1865 had informed a clerical voter 
that he regarded the question as ' remote and apparently 
out of all bearing on the practical politics of the day.' 
At that time, so far as public declarations went, it seemed 
even more unlikely that Gladstone would effect Irish dis- 
establishment than that Disraeli would carry household 

But the Fenian conspiracy had forcibly directed public 
attention to the defects of British government in Ireland, 
and the leaders of both parties were preoccupied with Irish 
policy. The object at which both aimed was the reconcilia- 
tion with England of the leaders of Roman Catholic opin- 
ion in Ireland. With Roman Catholic opinion in England 

i Gathorne Hardy's Life of Lord Cranbrook, Vol I., p. 264. Hardy's 
diaries are most valuable evidence as regards the proceedings of Dis- 
raeli's two Governments; and the following pages will show how great 
are my obligations to the admirable biography of the father by the son. 


Disraeli had established a modus vivendi during Palmer- 
ston's Government, though, owing to an indiscretion of 
Derby's, its effect had been impaired at the last General 
Election. In regard to Ireland he had advocated concilia- 
tion, but conciliation through the action of a powerful and 
vigorous executive, from his early days in Parliament. In 
a famous speech l in 1844 he had said that it was the duty 
of an English Minister to effect in Ireland by policy all 
those changes which a revolution would effect by force; in 
1847 he had urged the liberal outlay of English gold to 
forward Irish economic development; in the first Derby- 
Disraeli Government he had endeavoured to pass into law a 
comprehensive reform of Irish land tenure in favour of 
the tenant; and in the second Derby-Disraeli Government 
he had contemplated the grant of a charter to a Roman 
Catholic University in Dublin, but had lacked the time to 
carry the policy into act. It was this last scheme which 
he took up once more in the years 1867 and 1868, being 
much encouraged by Manning, who had recently become 
Roman Catholic Archbishop of Westminster, and who was 
eager to assume the lead in all movements for the benefit 
of his adopted co-religionists. From May, 1867, to March, 
1868, Disraeli was in regular communication with the 
Archbishop, who represented himself as fully acquainted 
with the views of Cardinal Cullen and the other leaders of 
Irish Roman Catholic opinion. After an informal conver- 
sation on an early Sunday in May, Manning brought the 
Rector of the existing Roman Catholic University in Dublin 
to see Disraeli. In a letter arranging for the interview 
Manning wrote, on May 21 : 'I am able to say, of my 
own knowledge, that any favourable proposal from Govern- 
ment on the subject of the Catholic University would not 
only encounter no opposition, but would be assisted. I be- 
lieve I may say that this includes the granting of a charter. 
What I write is not from second-hand. I can add that the 
" Chief " I conferred with is in the front, and he fully 
i See Vol. II., pp. 188-194. 


recognises the need of removing the Catholic education of 
Ireland from the turbulent region of politics.' He urged 
Disraeli to disregard certain expressions of Irish members 
of Parliament, hostile to chartering a Catholic University. 
' I am now able to state/ he wrote on August 20, ' that they 
do not represent the sense and desire of Cardinal Cullen or 
of the Irish Bishops.' He warned Disraeli of the impor- 
tance of securing the co-operation of the Irish Bishops. 

In the winter months the conversations were resumed. 
On December 22 Manning wrote that he had just received 
a letter from Cardinal Cullen ' on the subject of our last con- 
versation,' and requested a further appointment, which ap- 
parently took effect on December 28. On January 15, 
1868, he suggested another talk, stating in his letter that 
he had been reading ' with great assent ' Disraeli's speech 
on Irish affairs in 1844. Again, on February 19, he ac- 
cepted an appointment for the following day. This was 
just after the reopening of Parliament, when the grave 
news of Derby's relapse was turning all eyes upon his 
Chancellor of the Exchequer. ' I fully understood your 
silence,' Manning wrote, * knowing how much and anxiously 
you must be pressed. The present moment is truly a crisis, 
but I trust that all may issue in good.' Throughout these 
weeks Manning was lending his assistance in maturing the 
Ministerial plan, and he hailed Disraeli's elevation to the 
Premiership in terms which showed not obscurely that he 
was looking forward to co-operation with him in a policy 
of Roman Catholic amelioration a policy which involved, 
besides University education, a reform of the Irish land laws, 
and an ultimate vision of concurrent endowment in Ireland 
for the Roman Church. 

From, Arch'bisnop Manning. 

8, YORK PLACE, Feb. 26, 1868. The kindness and consideration 
I have received from you impels me to convey to you my sympathy 
at this great crisis of your public life. 

It is my privilege to stand neutral between political parties, and 
I have been united, for nearly forty years, in close personal friend- 


ship with Mr. Gladstone; nevertheless it is a happiness to me to 
see you where your public services have justly placed you as first 
Minister of the Crown, and to add an expression of my best 
wishes. I trust you may have health and life to carry out the 
legislation which, as you one day told me, you thought yourself 
too old to see realised. That is not so; and the season has set 
in sooner than you then looked for. 

This letter needs no reply, but I could not let the moment pass 
without assuring you of my sympathy. 

There was undoubtedly a certain disposition to look to 
Disraeli a statesman who had always regarded Ireland !| 
in a spirit alike of detachment and of sympathy for a 
settlement of the Irish question. Early in the session of 
1866 Bright had adjured both leaders, Gladstone and Dis- 
raeli, to lay aside their Parliamentary rivalry and com- 
bine with this object; and Bernal Osborne, shortly after 
the formation of the 1866 Government, had recalled the 
speech of 1844 and urged that now was the moment for 
Disraeli to put in force the policy then proclaimed. The 
successful settlement of the Reform difficulty by the method 
of taking the House as a whole into council suggested that 
the same man and the same method might solve the still 
more intractable problem of Ireland. A voice reached 
Disraeli in that sense from Australia. Gavan Duffy wrote 
from Melbourne on November 26, 1867, congratulating him 
on his success in his Herculean task of Reform, and urging 
that there was a ' crowning work ' for him still to do. 
* You could give Ireland peace, and, after a little, prosper- 
ity.' It was too late for half-measures. 

A statesman must offer the agricultural classes terms which 
a reasonable man may regard as fairly competing with the terms 
upon which he can obtain land if he emigrates to America or 
Australia. ... If the State will buy up at a reasonable valuation 
the waste lands now unproductive, and let them at a rent yielding 
3 per cent, on the purchase money, and will further enable the 
more intelligent and industrious Irish tenants on ordinary estates 
to purchase the fee simple of their farms by a series of annual 
payments representing the actual value, you will have tran- 


quillised Ireland for this generation. The Church question and 
the education question will remain to be dealt with, no doubt, 
but these are the questions of the educated minority; the uneasy 
classes are uneasy because of the perpetual uncertainty of tenure. 

Subsequent history has shown that Gavan Duffy wad 
right ; that putting the national question aside the 
tenure of land was the crux of the Irish problem, and 
could only be solved by an extensive system of purchases. 
But the t educated minority ' of Roman Catholics in Ire- 
land were more vocal than the farmers and peasants; ac- 
cordingly it was the Church question and the education 
question which were taken in hand at this time by leaders 
and parties in Parliament, the one by Gladstone and the 
other by Disraeli; though Disraeli had recognised in the 
past, and Gladstone, as his Irish researches proceeded, was 
to discover in the future, the supreme importance of a 
satisfactory settlement of the land question. 

(The idea of Disraeli and the Government was to estab- 
lish in Dublin an institution which should stand in relation 
to the Roman Catholics somewhat in the same position that 
Trinity College does to Protestants. The governing body 
should entirely consist of Roman Catholics ; and the teach- 
ing be mainly conducted by them ; but full security should 
be taken that no religious influence should be brought to 
bear on students who belonged to another faith. Five pre- 
lates, together with the President of Maynooth, were to be 
put on the governing body, the senate ; but there was to be a 
strong lay element in its constitution, and the Government 
contemplated the appointment of a layman as the first 
Chancellor. The State would pay the establishment charges 
of the new University, but the general question of State 
endowment would be postponed. This scheme, in general 
terms, had Manning's approval; and, from his assurances, 
Disraeli had reason to hope that it would be accepted in 
substance by the Irish Bishops. Accordingly, after its 
promulgation on March 10 by Mayo in the House of Com- 


mons where, though scoffed at by Bright as a pill good 
against the earthquake, it was received with benignity both 
by Chichester Fortescue on behalf of the official Liberals 
and by Monsell on behalf of the Roman Catholic laity it 
was submitted to Archbishop Leahy and Bishop Derry, the 
appointed representatives of the hierarchy. Unfortunately, 
their attitude was widely different from what the Govern- 
ment had been led to expect. They demanded the submis- 
sion of the new University to episcopal guidance. The 
Chancellor, they claimed, must always be a prelate, and 
Cardinal Cullen ought to be the first Chancellor. General 
control must not rest with the senate as a whole, a pre- 
ponderatingly lay body, but with its episcopal members. 
These prelates must have an absolute veto on the books 
included in the University programme, and on the first 
nomination of the professors, lecturers, and other officers; 
and must also have the power of depriving such teachers 
of their offices, should they be judged by their Bishops to 
have done anything contrary to faith and morals. 

Claims of this kind were so preposterous that the whole 
scheme had to be relinquished. Dr. Leahy and Dr. Derry 
were not men of affairs, and it has been suggested and 
may well be true that they asked for twice as much as 
they were prepared to take, and were astonished when the 
Government abandoned the negotiation as hopeless. But 
it is difficult not to connect the extremist attitude of the 
Irish negotiators with the development of Gladstone's policy 
of disestablishment The preliminary reply of the Bishops 
was dated M#rch 19, three days after Gladstone's announce- 
ment that the Irish Church, ' as a State Church, must cease 
to exist.' The final reply, expressing the episcopal views in 
detail, was dated March 31, after Gladstone had tabled his 
famous Resolutions, and while the debate on them in the 
House of Commons was in progress. Until Gladstone's 
announcement Manning was still active on behalf of the 
scheme ; but his last letter to Disraeli was dated on the very 


day (March 16) when the announcement was made. From 
that moment he ceased all communication with the Prime 
Minister till the close of the Government in December, 
when he excused himself as follows : 

From Archbishop Manning. 

8, YORK PLACE, W., Dec. 2, 1868.. . . I have felt that a ra- 
vine, I will not say a gulf, opened between us when the Resolu- 
tions on the Irish Church were laid upon the Table of the House. 
I regretted this, as I had hoped to see the scheme of the Catholic 
University happily matured; but with my inevitable conviction 
as to the Irish Church I felt that I ought not to trespass upon 
your kindness, which I can assure you I shall remember with 
much pleasure. . . . 

It is not unnatural that Disraeli should have felt that he 
had been treated shabbily by the representatives of the 
Roman Catholics, and especially by Manning. He said 
on more than, one occasion to Roman Catholic friends that 
he had been stabbed in the back. Manning's defence, when 
he heard the accusation, was that the University negotia- 
tions * were entirely taken out of my hands by the Bishops 
who corresponded with you, and in a sense at variance with 
my judgment and advice.' Had he been left free to act, 
he maintained that he would have been successful ; and he 
averred that he had never ceased to regret the failure of 
his efforts. 1 

Whatever the degree of Manning's responsibility, the 
facts and dates suggest that the Roman Catholic author- 
ities were diverted from adhesion to Disraeli's programme 
by Gladstone's superior bid. It was impossible to resist 
the temptation of wreaking vengeance on the Anglican 
Church, though in the result they got nothing of the Church 
revenues, nor even, till after forty years, the Catholic Uni- 
versity which was within their grasp; and the temporal 
power of the Pope, the importance of which to Roman Catho- 

i Letter from Manning to Disraeli, dated Rome, May 7, 1870. Man- 
ning cited, as a witness to the accuracy of his account, Cashel Hoey, 
a well-known Irish journalist. 


lies Disraeli alone among British statesmen appreciated, 
perished a couple of years later, in 1870. 

Gladstone allowed the new Government no close time, 
but, like a capable general, took the offensive at once. 
Derby's resignation and Disraeli's appointment as his suc- 
cessor were announced in both Houses on Tuesday, February 
25; on Thursday, March 5, after nine days' adjournment, 
Disraeli and his colleagues presented themselves to Parlia- 
ment and made their Ministerial profession of faith; only 
five days later, on Tuesday, March 10, came a debate on the 
Irish question initiated by an Irish member, and the Chief 
Secretary's exposition of policy; and on the last night of 
that debate, Monday, March 16, less than three weeks after 
Disraeli's acceptance of office, Gladstone launched the new 
policy of the Liberal party, the immediate disestablishment 
and disendowment of the Irish Church. It was Gladstone's 
most brilliant and successful stroke as a party leader. The 
settlement of the Reform question by Disraeli's statesman- 
ship had deprived the Liberals of the popular cry which 
they had for long utilised at elections, if they forgot it in 
Parliament. If no new cry were raised, there was a fear 
lest the working man might be disposed to vote, not for 
those who had often promised but failed to perform, but for 
those who had actually given him the franchise. The Irish 
Church was in a very weak position, and could not long be 
left untouched; it was, at this very time, undergoing in- 
vestigation by a Commission which the Government had 
appointed in the previous year. It claimed, indeed, to be, 
like the Church of England, the historical representative of 
the ancient Church of the country ; and its maintenance, as 
an establishment united to its sister Church, was one of the 
provisions by which the assent of the then dominant Protes- 
tants in Ireland was secured for the Act of Union. But, 
though it was the Church of the ruling classes, it had failed 
to win the affections of the people. More than three-quar- 
ters of the total population were Roman Catholics, and of 
the remainder nearly a half were Presbyterians. The 


Church of Ireland ministered to only about one-eighth of 
the people of Ireland. Moreover, it was Evangelical in its 
tendencies, and had been very little affected by the Tracta- 
rian development. Here was an institution the attack upon 
which would rally to the Liberal banner Roman Catholics, 
Liberal Anglicans, Dissenters and Secularists, Whigs jeal- 
ous of ecclesiastical power, and Radicals hostile to corporate 
property. Besides, a policy of disestablishment and dis- 
endowment gave a great opportunity for specious electioneer- 
ing cries calculated to attract the new voter : ' religious 
equality,' ' justice to Ireland.' 

How were the Government, how were the Conservative 
party, to meet it? The Prime Minister, nearly a quarter 
of a century before, had declared that an ' alien Church ' 
was one of Ireland's legitimate grievances. He had re- 
fused to respond to Derby's urgent requests that he should 
speak on its behalf in Parliament, and had written to him 
shortly after the General Election : ' I do not think that 
any general resolution respecting the Irish Church could be 
successfully withstood in the present Parliament. It is a 
very unpopular cause, even with many of our best men.' 1 
On the other hand, the party which Disraeli led was es- 
sentially the defender of the Church of England, and had 
been especially mobilised by himself in its defence. More- 
over, any loosening of the bond between religion and the 
State was repugnant to all his theocratic ideas. One sec- 
tion of the Cabinet, headed by Hardy, and powerfully sup- 
ported by Derby from without, desired that high ground 
should be taken and the proposal denounced as sacrilege; 
or, if unity could not be preserved on those lines, at least 
that a strong passive resistance should be offered to change. 
Another section, in which Stanley and Pakington were con- 
spicuous, was ready to accept disestablishment as inevitable, 
and desired to concentrate on liberal treatment of the dis- 
established Church together with a utilisation of surplus 
revenues for the benefit of Roman Catholics. 

i See Vol. IV., pp. 405, 406, 425, 426. 

1868] DERBY'S VIEWS 13 

From Lord Derby. 

Confidential. KNOWSLEY, March 3, 1868. Anxious as I am for 
the permanence of your Government, I cannot refrain from ex- 
pressing my apprehensions as to the forthcoming discussions upon 
the Irish questions. . . . 

Your real difficulty will arise when you come to deal with the 
Established Church. You know that I have always entertained 
a very strong opinion adverse to the right of Parliament to alien- 
ate any part of the property of that or of any other corporation, 
and this was the main ground of our successful opposition to the 
Appropriation Clause, the ohject of which was to convert to secu- 
lar purposes any surplus, over and above what might he deemed 
requisite for the maintenance of the establishment. It seems to 
be generally assumed that this principle is no longer tenable ; but 
the moment you depart from it, you will find yourself involved in 
inextricable difficulty. The obvious course would appear to be, at 
all events, to wait for the report of the Commission which we 
issued last year; but Stanley says, though I do not agree with 
him, that Parliament will not, and Gladstone says that it shall 
not, admit that ground for postponement of legislation. In my 
opinion, however, the safest course for the Government will be 
to abstain from making any proposition whatever. . . . The diffi- 
culties of this question are such that I am convinced your safety 
is to sit still, and, instead of showing your hand, to compel your 
adversaries to exhibit theirs, with all their discrepancies and con- 
tradictions. . . . 

To Lord Derby. 

10, DOWNING STREET, March 4, 1868. . . . We have discussed 
our Irish policy for two days, and have arrived at conclusions 
which are very much in unison with your suggestions to bring 
in a Land Bill, which will deal with all those points of the contro- 
versy on which there begins to be a concurrence of opinion ; and 
with respect to the others, to propose another Devon Commission. 

The famine and State emigration have happened since the la- 
bors of that inquiry, and we think that such a body of evidence 
will be collected as to the present improved state of the country 
that a great effect may be produced on public opinion. 

The Cabinet adopted unanimously the University scheme which 
you had approved. 

With regard to the great difficulty and the real danger, the 
Church, although there was great difference of opinion in the 
Cabinet on the merits of the question, there was unanimity that it 


ought not to be treated except in a new Parliament; and also 
that no pledge should be given of maintaining absolutely un- 
changed the present state of ecclesiastical affairs. . . . 

Disraeli was not likely to overlook one obvious method 
of contributing to the tranquillisation of Ireland the 
presence of royalty in that country. Like other Ministers, 
before and after his time, he was hampered by the un- 
fortunate reluctance of Queen Victoria either to go to 
Ireland herself or to permit members of her family to go. 
No doubt the disturbed state of the country gave some 
reason for anxiety in case of a royal visit, but both the 
Lord-Lieutenant and the Chief Secretary, Abercorn and 
Mayo, each of them an Irishman with a wide knowledge of 
Irish feeling, urged the great advantage of a visit from the 
Prince of Wales; and the representations of Disraeli at 
length prevailed to secure Her Majesty's consent. 

To Lord Derby. 

Confidential. 10, DOWNING STREET, March 9, 1868. . . . The 
Prince of Wales is to pay a visit to Ireland at Easter. This af- 
fair has given me much trouble. They invited the Prince without 
the previous consent of Her Majesty, and the occasion chosen for 
eliciting the loyal feeling of Ireland was a princely visit to some 
races at a place with the unfortunate title of Punchestown, or 
something like it. The Queen did not approve of the occasion, or 
a state visit agreed to without her authority; and the matter ap- 
peared to me, at one time, more serious than the Irish Church, 
but with much correspondence and the loyal assistance of General 
Grey, whose conduct is really admirable, I think we have got all 
right. Lords Abercorn and Mayo are pardoned, and, I hope, the 
Prince; and, if my humble suggestion be adopted, the inaugura- 
tion of H.R.H. as a Knight of St. Patrick, in the renovated cathe- 
dral, will be an adequate occasion for the royal visit, and a more 
suitable and stately cause than a race, however national. 

Stanley did more than well about Alabama; strengthened the 
Government. He gives me daily good accounts of you, which are 
agreeable to your devoted D. 

The Irish Government would have liked to follow up 
the Prince's visit by the establishment of a permanent 


royal residence in Ireland. But on this point the resistance 
of the Queen could not be overcome. 

From Sir John PaTcington. 

Confidential. 52, GROSVENOR PLACE, S.W., March 14, 1868. Is 
it not still possible that you may suggest in your speech a com- 
promise on the Church question, which may at least diminish the 
effect of any move on the opposite side? It is clear that a state 
of affairs which no one ventures to defend cannot be main- 

I think we may consent to disestablishment, but we cannot con- 
sent to disendowment. Hardy hinted that any surplus may be 
dealt with. May not this hint be pushed further, and an outline 
be sketched for (1) disestablishing; (2) insuring a surplus by re- 
ducing the provision for the Church to the minimum of her real 
requirements; (3) devoting the surplus to providing glebes, par- 
sonages, and good churches for the R. Cs. ; (4) extending the pow- 
ers of the Commission, if necessary, to arrange the details of such 
a plan ? 

You will excuse the zeal which offers a suggestion to one who 
so little needs it. 

The opinions expressed in the Irish debate, which lasted 
four days, 1 were very various, but the Liberals, Radicals, 
and Irish brigade all united in demanding the disestablish- 
ment of the Church as the first step. This policy united 
Lowe and Bright, Mill and Chichester Fortescue, Horsman 
and Monsell. The Government speakers ridiculed the idea 
that confiscation could be the proper way to start a healing 
policy. But the Chief Secretary disclaimed a merely nega- 
tive attitude on the part of Irish Protestants, and hinted that 
levelling upwards and not downwards was the proper course. 
Gladstone dismissed the Government policy for Ireland as 
inadequate, though he agreed that the Roman Catholic griev- 
ance about University education ought to be remedied. But 
the Irish Church must first be dealt with, and must, as an 
establishment, cease to exist. He brushed aside the idea 
of waiting till the Commission then sitting had reported. If 
the Government would not move, the Opposition must not 

i March 10, 12, 13, and 16. 


be content with an empty declaration of opinion, but must 
proceed to act. 

Disraeli began happily by contrasting the apathy and in- 
difference on this question shown by Gladstone and his 
friends when in office, and their discovery of its instant im- 
portance when in opposition. ( I could not but feel/ he 
said, * that I was the most unfortunate of Ministers, since 
at the moment when I arrived, by Her Majesty's gracious 
favour, at the position I now fill, a controversy which had 
lasted for 700 years had reached its culminating point, and 
I was immediately called upon with my colleagues to pro- 
duce measures equal to such a supernatural exigency.' He 
defended the Irish policy of the Government as being one of 
dealing with all such points as were by general agreement 
sufficiently advanced for legislation, and referring to Com- 
missions only those matters which were not ripe for decision. 
To suggest that the object was delay was ' the lees and 
refuse of factious insinuation.' He admitted that the Irish 
Church was not in the condition in which he could wish to 
see a national Church; but he dwelt earnestly on the im- 
portance of connecting the principle of religion with gov- 
ernment, otherwise political authority would become a 
mere affair of police. If religion and government were to 
be associated, endowment was inevitable. The Irish, 
whether Presbyterian, Anglican, or Roman, were essen- 
tially a religious people, and therefore in favour of ecclesi- 
astical endowments. This great principle was at stake, and 
Parliament had no moral competence to deal with it till 
after an appeal to the nation an appeal which the Govern- 
ment were prepared to hasten. He pointed, as Mayo had, 
to some form of concurrent endowment. The moment had 
arrived, he said, when there must be a considerable change 
in the condition of the unendowed clergy of Ireland which 
would elevate their influence. But he did not mean what 
was vulgarly called l paying the priests,' and so making 
them stipendiaries of the State, of which he strongly dis- 


He did not shrink from meeting the challenge which had 
been thrown down to him to reconcile his present attitude 
with his famous dictum in 1844 about a starving population, 
an absentee aristocracy, and an alien Church. 

With reference to that passage which has been quoted from a 
speech made by me, I may remark that it appeared to me at the 
time I made it that nobody listened to it. It seemed to me that I 
was pouring water upon sand, but it seems now that the water 
came from a golden goblet. With regard to the passage from 
that speech there are many remarks which, if I wanted to vin- 
dicate or defend myself, I might legitimately make. I might re- 
mind the House that that speech was made before the famine and 
the emigration from Ireland, and the whole of that passage about 
the starving people and the amount of population to the square 
mile no longer applies. I might remark that that speech was 
made before the change in locomotion and the sale of a large por- 
tion of the soil of Ireland, which has established a resident pro- 
prietary instead of an absentee aristocracy, though, so far as I 
can collect, the absentee aristocracy seems more popular than the 
resident proprietary. All this I might say, but I do not care to 
say it, and I do not wish to say it, because in my conscience the 
sentiment of that speech was right. It may have been expressed 
with the heedless rhetoric which, I suppose, is the appanage of 
all who sit below the gangway ; but in my historical conscience the 
sentiment of that speech was right. 

Disraeli's speech pleased his colleagues and impressed the 
House of Commons. Hardy was struck by its skill and 
humorousness as opposed to Gladstone's extravagant vio- 
lence. Cairns wrote : ' I doubt if anything, at once so diffi- 
cult and so perfect, was accomplished even by yourself. The 
issue on which you have placed our policy with Gladstone 
is excellent.' Lennox reported Lowe and Henry Cowper 
as being both decidedly of opinion that Disraeli had the 
best of it in his duel with Gladstone. But the speech, in 
view both of the divisions in the Cabinet and of Disraeli's 
strong feeling, in his ' historical conscience,' of the anoma- 
lous position of the Irish Church, was rather a debating an- 
swer to Gladstone than a definite statement of policy ; and 
the Prime Minister felt the necessity of deciding promptly 


on some line of action on which he could hope to secure the 
united support of his colleagues. He accordingly outlined 
during the next few days to Cairns, who as an Irish Protes- 
tant was specially interested in the question, the policy 
which, with certain modifications, was eventually adopted 
by the Cabinet. 

To Lord Cairns. 

Secret. 10, DOWNING STREET, March 19, 1868. I wish very 
much to confer with you, but as that is, I suppose, impossible, I 
must endeavor, without loss of time, to convey to you my present 
impressions as to the critical position at which not only the Cab- 
inet, but the country, has now arrived. 

I assume, from what reaches me, that Gladstone and his party 
will now propose the disestablishment of the Irish Church. 

He seems to me to have raised a clear and distinct issue. I 
don't think we could wish it better put. 

I think we ought to bold that the whole question of national 
establishments is now raised ; that the Irish Church is but a small 
portion of the question; and that those who wish to demolish it 
must be held to desire the abolition of national establishments in 
the three kingdoms. 

But we must detach the Irish Church as much as possible from 
the prominent portion of the subject, for, there is no doubt, it is 
not popular. 

I tbink, if the principle that the State should adopt and uphold 
religion as an essential portion of the Constitution be broadly 
raised, a great number of members from the north of England and 
Scotland, called Liberals, would be obliged to leave the philosophic 

I am, therefore, at present inclined to an amendment which, 
while it admitted that the present condition of the Church in Ire- 
land was susceptible of improvement, while it might be desirable 
to elevate the status of the unendowed clergy of that country, still 
declared it was the first duty of the State to acknowledge and 
maintain the religious principle in an established form, etc. 

All this is very rough writing, and the amendment would re- 
quire the utmost thought and precision. What I want at present 
to do is to call your immediate thought to the situation. It has 
come on us like a thief in the night. It is useless to launch such 
thoughts, as I suggest, in an unprepared Cabinet. You and I 
must settle all this together, and then speak to one or two leading 
spirits ; but it is quite on the cards that we may have to take our 
course on Saturday in Cabinet. 


There ought to be no faltering on my part in that case; there- 
fore I beg your earnest and devoted attention to all this. We 
are on the eve of great events, and we ought to show ourselves 
equal to them. 

To Sir Anthony de Rothschild. 

10, DOWNING STREET, March 19, 1868. You sent me some 
good stuff to keep up my spirits in the great battles at hand; 
so, if I beat my enemies, the ' great Liberal party ' will owe their 
discomfiture to your burgundy! 

Would you like to be Lord Lieutenant of the county? If 
so, you must return me at least six members. That's the quota 
for such a distinction. My love to your wife. 

To Lord Derby. 

10, DOWNING STREET, March 21, 1868. I have been intending, 
and expecting, to write to you every day announcing the hostile 
motion, and requesting your advice on it; but it has been delayed 
so long that I am almost in hopes you may reach London before 
it is made public. We had anticipated considering it in Cabinet 
to-day, but, as you have observed, it was postponed last night, 
and the House was favored only with a notice that a notice 
would be given. Something new in Parliament! We have, 
however, spent two hours and a half in the old room, from which 
I have just escaped to send you this line to let you know how 
we all were. We did a good deal of business, but nothing very 
striking except settling our Bill for the purchase of the tele- 
graphs of the United Kingdom. 

A person of authority, and a social friend of Gladstone's, 
told me yesterday that his present violent courses are entirely 
to be attributed to the paralytic stroke of the Bishop of Win- 
chester. 1 Until that happened G. was quiet and temperate, and 
resisted all the anti-Church overtures of the advanced party. 
But when this calamity happened to the worthy prelate Gladstone 
became disturbed and restless, and finally adopted a more violent 
course even than his friends had originally suggested. Strange 
that a desire to make Bishops should lead a man to destroy 
Churches ! 

I hope Lady Derby is well, and that your followers will soon 
see you. Your very tired but devoted D. 

Gladstone's Resolutions, though they were not ready so 
soon as Disraeli anticipated, were not delayed beyond a 

i Sumner. 


week, being laid on the table of tbe House on Monday, 
March 23. They were three in number. The first affirmed 
the necessity of immediate disestablishment; the second the 
desirability of preventing the creation of fresh interests in 
the Irish Church; the third proposed an address to the 
Queen asking her to place her interest in the temporalities 
of the Church at the disposal of Parliament. Disraeli im- 
mediately put forth his reply in the shape of a letter to 
Lord Dartmouth, who had forwarded to him a Conserva- 
tive memorial expressing confidence in his leadership. In 
it he followed the line laid down in the letter to Cairns, 
insisting that there was a * crisis in England ' rather than 
in Ireland ; ' for the purpose is now avowed, and that by a 
powerful party, of destroying that sacred union between 
Church and State which has hitherto been the chief means 
of our civilisation and is the only security of our religious 

The Queen was greatly disturbed by Gladstone's pro- 
ceedings, but with true statesmanship was very anxious to 
avoid raising a religious issue. 

From Queen Victoria. 

WINDSOR CASTLE, March 24, 1868. The Queen has read Mr. 
Disraeli's account of Mr. Gladstone's proposed Resolutions with 
the deepest concern. She fears there is but too much truth in 
what Mr. Disraeli says of the spirit that may possibly be excited 
amongst the Protestants of the three kingdoms, and of the danger 
that exists of those old cries being revived which, in the name 
of religion, have worked evils which successive Governments 
have so long tried in vain to remedy. Mr. Gladstone must be 
aware that the chief difficulty in governing Ireland has always 
been to restrain the mutual violence of the old Orange party on 
the one side, and of the Roman Catholics on the other; and he 
might, the Queen thinks, to say the least, have paused before 
he made a declaration, of which the only effect will certainly be 
to revive and influence the old sectarian feuds and to render 
the administration of Ireland more difficult. 

The Queen trusts, however, to her Government, and especially 
to Mr. Disraeli, carefully to avoid saying anything, however 
great the provocation may be to act otherwise, that can tend to 


encourage a spirit of retaliation amongst the Protestants or to 
revive old religious animosities. It seems to her essentially a 
state of things in which her Ministers will deserve and receive 
the support of all who look to what is really for the good of the 
country if they show moderation and forbearance in meeting this 
attack, and studiously avoid taking a course which, though it 
might give them a party advantage for the moment, would surely 
be injurious to the permanent interests of the Empire. 

In view of their internal disagreement, the Cabinet de- 
termined to meet Gladstone's motion to go into Committee 
on his Resolutions by a temporising amendment to be moved 
by Stanley, which, while admitting that considerable modi- 
fications in Irish Church temporalities might be expedient, 
declared that the decision of the question should be left to 
a new Parliament. It was an eminently reasonable proposi- 
tion, but naturally, as it avoided the issue of principle, was 
not combative enough to satisfy Derby, who wrote to Disraeli 
on March 25 : ' It seems to me in the right sense, but it 
implies rather more of concession than pleases me; for the 
expression " without prejudging the question of considerable 
modifications, etc.," appears practically to prejudge the 
question to an extent which will not satisfy your Protestant 
friends, and I shall be rather nervous as to Stanley's mode 
of handling the subject.' Derby's nervousness was justi- 
fied ; Stanley's mode of handling his subject dismayed and 
disorganised his party. Even Cairns found him ' colour- 
less and chilling,' while Hardy in his diary pungently de- 
scribed his speech as ( the cry of a whipped hound.' Cran- 
borne seized the opportunity to make an attack, in Hardy's 
words, ' sneering as regards us all ; venomous and remorse- 
less against Disraeli.' He went so far as to suggest that, 
having betrayed the party over household suffrage, Disraeli 
was preparing to betray them once more over the Irish 
Church, Stanley's ' Delphic ' amendment being the first 
step in a policy of disestablishment. Hardy made a spirited 
reply to this malicious outburst, quoted recent letters and 
speeches to show the suddenness of Gladstone's conversion, 


and defended the Irish Church and the principle of estab- 
lishment and endowment in eloquent terms. All the leaders 
took part in the debate. 1 Gladstone endeavoured to vin- 
dicate his consistency, and asserted that the Church of Eng- 
land would be benefitted and not injured by being severed 
from a communion with what was politically dangerous and 
socially unjust. Lowe gave Liberals the catchword, ' Cut 
it down ; why cumbereth it the ground ? ' 

Disraeli had no difficulty, in his reply, in vindicating the 
reasonableness of Stanley's amendment. The Government 
could not meet Gladstone's motion with a direct negative, as 
they thought some modification would be necessary. They 
held, moreover, that, when a fundamental law of the coun- 
try was attacked, Parliament was not morally competent 
to decide the question, unless some intimation had been given 
to the constituency which elected it. Once again, as on 
the third reading of the Reform Bill, Disraeli dealt with 
the virulent attacks made on him by Cranborne and Lowe. 
The former he let off comparatively lightly. He recog- 
nised the vigour and vindictiveness of his invective, but 
thought, as a critic, that, in spite of all the study which 
Cranborne had given to the subject, it lacked finish. 2 He 
turned to Lowe, Cranborne's ' echo ' from the Liberal side. 

When the bark is heard on this side, the right hon. member 
for Calne emerges, I will not say from his cave, but perhaps 
from a more cynical habitation. He joins immediately in the 
chorus of reciprocal malignity, and 'hails with horrid melody 
the moon.' . . . The right hon. member for Calne is a very 
remarkable man. He is a learned man, though he despises 
history. He can chop logic like Dean Aldrich ; but what is more 
remarkable than his learning and his logic is that power of 
spontaneous aversion which particularises him. There is noth- 

1 March 30 and 31, April 2 and 3. 

2 This was the last encounter between Cranborne and Disraeli in 
the Commons. During the Easter recess Disraeli's old colleague, 
Salisbury, died, and Cranborne succeeded to the title. Father and son 
had been reconciled, and Salisbury had even espoused Cranborne's 
quarrel with Disraeli, who, however, was able to write to Stanley on 
April 15: 'I am glad that Lord Salisbury shook hands with me cor- 
dially before he died.' 


ing that he likes, and almost everything that he hates. He hates 
the working classes of England. He hates the Roman Catholics 
of Ireland. He hates the Protestants of Ireland. He hates His 
Majesty's Ministers. And until the right hon. gentleman the 
member for South Lancashire [Gladstone] placed his hand upon 
the ark, he almost seemed to hate the right hon. gentleman. 

Disraeli maintained that there had been a great improve- 
ment in the state of Ireland since the Union, due to the 
steady policy of conciliation which had been for many years 
pursued by England, and especially by his own party. 
They had acted on the principle that in Ireland it was wise 
to create and not to destroy, and to strengthen Protestant 
institutions by being just to Roman Catholics, as in the 
University proposals then before Parliament. But Glad- 
stone's policy would revive the acrimony of which they had 
hoped to get rid, place classes and creeds in antagonism, 
and indefinitely defer the restoration of political tranquil- 
lity. He strongly objected to disendowment. ' I view with 
great jealousy the plunder of a Church, because, so far as 
history can guide me, I have never found that Churches are 
plundered except to establish or enrich oligarchies.' There 
might be some palliation if there were a question of restitu- 
tion to the Roman Catholics, but he could not in any cir- 
cumstances agree that the endowments should be applied to 
what Liberals called secular purposes. ' A secular purpose 
is always a job.' 

Towards the close of his speech Disraeli developed the 
argument on which he had touched in the previous debate, 
which he had pressed in his letter to Cairns, and which was 
especially congenial to one whose Jewish traditions gave a 
theocratic bent to his mind. He insisted on the vital im- 
portance of the union of Church and State; by which he 
meant ' that authority is to be not merely political, that 
government is to be not merely an affair of force, but is to 
recognise its responsibility to the Divine Power.' The 
divine right of Kings had properly been discarded, 'but 
ftn intelligent age will never discard the divine right of 


Government. If government is not divine, it is nothing. 
It is a mere affair of the police office, of the tax-gatherer, 
of the guardroom.' * If the Church in Ireland fell, he 
foresaw attacks on the Church in Scotland and on the Church 
in Wales ; and the crisis in England, as he had said in his 
letter to Lord Dartmouth, was fast arriving. * High Church 
Ritualists and the Irish followers of the Pope have been 
long in secret combination, and are now in open confederacy. 
. . . They have combined to destroy that great blessing 
of conciliation which both parties in the State for the last 
quarter of a century have laboured to effect.' 

Gladstone, in reply, deduced from Ministers' speeches 
that their policy was some form of endowment for the 
Roman Catholic Church, and condemned this alternative 
as ' too late.' Gladstone's tone was the assured one of a 
leader who knows that he has found a cause which unites and 
inspires his party, and the division lobbies justified him. 
Stanley's amendment was defeated by sixty votes, and the 
motion to go into Committee was carried by fifty-six. 

From Lord Cairns. 

Confidential. 5, CROMWELL HOUSES, W., April 4, 1868. 
. . . The division is larger than I expected, and yet I cannot 
but hope that the numbers, together with the views which Glad- 
stone's supporters have expressed, will during the recess make 
the country awake to the gravity of the position. The issue, 
as you have placed it, is excellent, and I cannot express my 
admiration of the whole of your magnificent speech. 2 

It was as an outwork of the Church of England that the 
Church of Ireland especially appealed to Disraeli. The 
same forces of Whiggery, Rationalism, and Dissent that 
had gathered to the attack on Church rates were once more 

1 In the General Preface to the novels, 1870, he reaffirmed this doc- 
trine : ' The divine right of Kings may have been a plea for feeble 
tyrants, but the divine right of Government is the keystone of human 
progress, and without it government sinks into police, and a nation 
IB degraded into a mob.' 

2 On the other hand, to Hardy, the High Churchman, the speech 
appeared ' obscure, flippant and imprudent.' 


mobilised; and they were on this occasion reinforced by 
the Roman Catholics and by some of the High Churchmen 
and Ritualists, who were closely allied with Gladstone and 
dreaded Erastianism more than disestablishment. It was 
to this danger that Disraeli called attention in the last words 
of his speech. His statement was widely challenged, but 
he unhesitatingly defended it in a letter to a correspondent. 

To the Rev. Arthur Baker. 

HUGHENDEN MANOR, Maundy Thursday, 1 1868. . . . You are 
under a misapprehension if you suppose that I intended to cast 
any slur upon the High Church party. I have the highest respect 
for the High Church party; I believe there is no body of men 
in this country to which we have been more indebted, from the 
days of Queen Anne to the days of Queen Victoria, for the 
maintenance of the orthodox faith, the rights of the Crown, and 
the liberties of the people. . . . 

When I spoke I referred to an extreme faction in the Church, 
of very modern date, that does not conceal its ambition to de- 
stroy the connection between Church and State, and which I 
have reason to believe has been for some time in secret combina- 
tion, and is now in open confederary, with the Irish Romanists 
for the purpose. The Liberation Society, with its shallow and 
short-sighted fanaticism, is a mere instrument in the hands of 
this confederacy, and will probably be the first victim of the 
spiritual despotism the Liberation Society is now blindly work- 
ing to establish. As I hold that the dissolution of the union 
between Church and State will cause permanently a greater 
revolution in this country than foreign conquest, I shall use my 
utmost energies to defeat these fatal machinations. 

It was, therefore, in Disraeli's view, essential that the 
Church of England should collect her powers for resistance. 
As a layman who had taken an active part in diocesan affairs, 
he appealed to his Bishop, the energetic Samuel Wilberforce, 
to give a lead to the clergy. ' What is the mot d'ordre to 
the diocese? ' he asked on April 15. It would be very un- 
wise of the High Church clergy, he maintained, to let their 

1 The exaggerated ecclesiastic! am of this method of dating his letter 
exposed Disraeli to deserved criticism. Always an artist on the public 
stage, he sometimes over-dressed his part. 


imperfect sympathy with ' a Calvinistic branch of the es- 
tablishment ' neutralise their action, as ' the fate of the 
Established Church will depend upon the opinion of the 
country as it is directed, formed, and organised during the 
next eight months.' 1 The Bishop had been much discom- 
posed at his friend Gladstone's new move, which he attri- 
buted to ' the unconscious influence of his restlessness in 
being out of office ' ; and, in response to Disraeli's appeal, 
he set himself vigorously to work both in his diocese and in 
the Church at large, and took a prominent part in a great 
Church meeting of protest in St. James's Hall in May. 
In this Churchmen of all parties joined : Archbishop Long- 
ley with Dean Stanley, Bishop Tait with Bishop Wilber- 
force. Spofforth, the Conservative organiser, told Disraeli 
that the meeting was an unmeasured success, and would 
rouse the Protestant party throughout the country; but 
Shaftesbury, with more discernment, warned him that it 
was a failure. ' It was one mass of clergy with a sprinkling 
of peers. . . . The time is gone by when the country could 
be be-bishoped and be-duked on public matters. Unless you 
can get a mighty body of laity, bankers, lawyers, merchants, 
shipbuilders, etc.' The Liberal party, seldom behindhand 
in agitation, had taken the lead in organising great gather- 
ings throughout the country in Gladstone's support, begin- 
ning with a meeting in London over which Russell presided ; 
and it was manifest that the new policy had an increasing 
volume of public opinion behind it. 

The large majority by which Gladstone had carried his 
motion against the resistance of the Government placed 
Ministers in a difficult situation. If that majority were 
maintained when the Resolutions were moved in detail, 
resignation or dissolution would in ordinary circumstances 
be inevitable. The circumstances, however, were not ordi- 
nary. Parliament had passed sentence of death upon itself 
by accepting a policy of Reform ; but the policy was as yet 
incompletely carried out, as only the English Bill had be- 

i Life of Bishop Wilberforce, Vol. HI., p. 245. 


come law, and the Irish and Scottish Bills were still under 
consideration. Moreover, when they were passed, some 
months would be required to draw up the new registers and 
bring them into operation. It was not reasonable to permit 
a moribund Parliament to decide without reference to the 
country a question of vital importance unexpectedly thrust 
upon its attention. On the other hand, it was absurd to 
dissolve at once and appeal to the old constituencies; and 
it was doubtful whether the new constituencies could be 
properly created before 1869. Strong influences were at 
work to prevent what apparently most of the Liberals ex- 
pected and desired namely, resignation. Derby advised 
against it. The Queen would not hear of it, and expressed 
herself strongly in that sense in a private talk with Derby 
on the very morning of the initial vote. 

From Lord Derby. 

Most Confidential. ST. JAMES'S SQUARE, April 3, 1868. I 
would not have troubled you with a letter when I know how 
much your thoughts must be engaged, had I not thought that 
you would like to hear that the Queen, who has honoured me 
this morning with a visit of near an hour, spoke in most un- 
reserved terms of condemnation of Gladstone's motion and con- 
duct ; and on my venturing to refer to the precedent of 1835, and 
the corresponding motion, and saying that its only result had 
been to turn out the Government, H. M. exclaimed with great 
emphasis, ' It shall not have that effect now ! ' I took on my- 
self to say that I had strongly urged you, in the event of de- 
feat, not to think of resigning, to which H.M. answered ' Quite 
right/ ... 'i 

Disraeli, ever a fighter, agreed with Derby and the Queen ; 
but several members of the Cabinet, of whom Hardy was 
the most prominent, were reluctant to sanction a course 
which would involve Ministers, in Hardy's words, ' in in- 
extricable difficulties. The Opposition,' he wrote in his 
diary, 'has tasted blood, and will bully and endeavour to 
control us, so as to place us in minorities constantly, and 
impede any legislation in our own sense.' During the 


Easter recess the Queen entertained at Windsor not only 
Disraeli, but also Hardy and Cairns, and impressed her 
view very strongly upon them all. Hardy wrote to Disraeli, 
April 5 : 'I have been much struck by the dread which 
the Queen expresses of Gladstone and his scheme. The 
Coronation Oath weighs upon her mind. She thinks she 
should be relieved of it legislatively with her own consent, 
before being called upon to agree to the destruction of the 
Church of Ireland. . . . The Queen is, as you say, ex- 
traordinarily friendly, and anxious not to have a change.' 
Disraeli, after his visit, wrote to Cairns on April 8 : i The 
Queen is in a state of considerable excitement and deter- 
mination about the present state of affairs, which she looks 
upon as very grave, tho' sanguine that the country will 
rally to sound views.' 

Before the recess concluded Disraeli had another audience 
of Her Majesty on the question, and on the resumption of 
Parliament, in anticipation of the forthcoming debate on 
the first Resolution, obtained the general sanction of the 
Cabinet to a policy of dissolution in preference to resigna- 

To Lord Cairns. 

Secret. 10, DOWNING STREET, April 22, 1868. I shall open 
the Cabinet to-day by giving the result of my audience last 
Thursday at Windsor. 

I shall indicate what I think is the duty of the Cabinet as 
regards themselves and their party, and then, by Her Majesty's 
especial desire and command, I shall refer to their duty, under 
the circumstances, to the Queen personally. 

When I have finished I shall request your opinion, and the 
Queen hopes that you will confirm, from your personal experience, 
the accuracy of my statement as to Her Majesty's views. She 
expects the same from Mr. Secy. Hardy, and for the same reason ; 
but I shall appeal to you first, not only because you are my princi- 
pal colleague, but because there is only one black sheep in the 
Cabinet, the Duke of M[arlborough] and as he sits far from you, 
he will be governed by the numerous opinions that will precede 
his own. 


From a portrait by W. E. Miller, at Hughenden. 


From Queen Victoria. 

OSBORNE, April 22, 1868. The Queen received yesterday Mr. 
Disraeli's letter, and thanks him very much for his full explana- 
tion of the course which the Government propose to recommend 
to her when Mr. Gladstone's first Resolution shall be affirmed. 

The Queen has always believed that that question, which has 
been so unseasonably raised, cannot be settled without an appeal 
to the country, and her Government may depend upon her support 
in any measures which may appear to her calculated to effect 
that settlement in a satisfactory manner. 

But as Mr. Disraeli postpones any specific recommendation till 
the division on Mr. Gladstone's motion shall have taken place, 
the Queen will only say now that any recommendation she may 
then receive from her Government shall have her careful and 
anxious consideration. She would, however, press upon Mr. 
Disraeli the importance of his not ' feeling,' as he expresses it, 
' for the opinion of the House,' as to the proper time for appealing 
to the country, but that her Government should consider this 
for themselves, and announce the decision which they may think 
it right to submit to the Queen in a manner that shall show no 
hesitation or doubt as to the policy they mean to pursue. 

Disraeli had some reason for thinking that, in spite of 
the violent outcry of many Liberals and the Liberal press 
for an immediate change of Government, Gladstone and the 
more responsible leaders recognised the advisability of wait- 
ing for the result of the appeal to the new constituencies. 
He wrote to Hardy on the 23rd : ' Gladstone, instead of 
wishing to upset us, has no Cabinet ready, and, tho' sanguine 
as to his future, is, at present, greatly embarrassed. He 
wishes to build us a golden bridge, and if we announce a 
bona fide attempt to wind up, he would support Bills to 
extend the time of registration, which would be necessi- 
tated by the passing of the Scotch and Irish Bills.' He 
added that ' the commercial Liberals . . . look with the 
greatest alarm to Lord Russell's return to the F.O., or 
even that of Ld. Clarendon. They think the peace of Eu- 
rope depends upon Stanley's remaining. I am assured that 
there never was a moment in which a want of confidence vote 
had a worse chance.' 


The debate on Gladstone's first and main Eesolution, that 
the Irish Church should cease to exist as an establishment, 
was carried over three nights, 1 but added little to the ex- 
haustive arguments urged during the preliminary stage. 
Gladstone was able to show that the policy of joint en- 
dowment tentatively advanced by Disraeli was repudiated 
by other leading Conservatives, and that accordingly the 
only alternative to disestablishment was a course of pro- 
crastination. Disraeli's main point was that to carry the 
Resolution would, on the one hand, shake the principle of 
property throughout the kingdom, and, on the other, im- 
pair our security for religious liberty and civil rights by 
tampering with the royal supremacy. 

The absence of a practicable alternative made a strong 
impression, and the majority increased to 65, 330 voting 
for the Resolution and only 265 against. Disraeli imme- 
diately moved the adjournment on the ground that the 
vote had altered the relation between the Government and 
the House ; and proceeded on the next morning 2 to Os- 
borne to tender to the Queen the advice which, in general 
terms, the Cabinet had agreed upon in the previous week. 
As the course to be followed had already been concerted 
with Her Majesty, there was no difficulty in obtaining her 
consent; but she very properly desired that her Minister's 
advice and her own answer should be formally recorded 
in writing. 

To Queen Victoria. 

[May 1, 1868.] The division of this morning in the House 
of Commons, by which at half-past two o'clock a.m. Mr. Glad- 
stone carried a Resolution for the disestablishment of the Irish 
Church by a majority of sixty-five, renders it necessary to call 
your Majesty's attention to the position of your Majesty's Govern- 

About two years ago Lord Derby undertook the management 
of your Majesty's affairs in a Parliament elected under the 
influence of his opponents, and in which there was a Liberal 
majority certainly exceeding seventy. 

i April 27, 28, and 30. * Friday, May 1. 


In the spirit of the Constitution he might have advised your 
Majesty to dissolve this Parliament, and, in the broken state 
of the Liberal party at that moment, perhaps not without success. 
But considering that the Parliament had been so recently elected 
he resolved to attempt to conduct affairs without that appeal. In 
the following year he had to encounter the Reform question under 
peculiar difficulties, and he succeeded in carrying a large measure 
on a subject which had for a long series of years baffled all states- 
men and all parties. 

Lord Derby would naturally have advised your Majesty to 
dissolve Parliament at the close of last year, had there not been 
some Bills supplementary to the Reform Bill, which time pre- 
vented carrying, but the principle of all which had been sanc- 
tioned by the House of Commons. 

Was there anything in the general conduct of affairs by your 
Majesty's present Government which should have deterred them 
from this appeal to the opinion of the nation? 

The conduct of affairs has never been impugned during these 
two years in any department; on the contrary, in every depart- 
ment it has been commended by their opponents. On the grounds, 
therefore, that they assumed office in a large and avowed minority 
in a House of Commons elected by their opponents; that they 
succeeded in passing the Reform Act; that their policy has been 
never impugned, but has been entirely accepted, they would be 
acting only in the spirit of the Constitution, were they to advise 
your Majesty to dissolve Parliament. 

In this state of affairs, while attempting to wind up the session 
and pass the supplementary Reform Bills, Mr. Gladstone at a 
few days' notice introduces a policy to disestablish the Church 
in Ireland. 

The objections of your Majesty's Government to this measure 
are very grave. 

1. It is a retrograde policy, and would destroy the effect of 
thirty years of conciliation. 

2. It shakes property to the centre. 

3. It dissolves for the first time the connection between Govern- 
ment and religion. 

And fourthly and chiefly in their opinion it introduces a 
principle which must sooner or later, and perhaps much sooner 
than is anticipated, be applied to England, where the effects 
must be of a most serious consequence. 

The Church will become either an Imperium in Imperio more 
powerful than the State, or it will break into sects and schisms 
and ultimately be absorbed by the tradition and discipline of 


the Church of Rome ; and the consequence will be that the Queen's 
supremacy, the security for our religious liberty, and, in no 
slight degree, for our civil rights, will be destroyed. In fact, 
this will be a revolution, and an entire subversion of the English 

Is the fact that this policy has been sanctioned, perhaps heed- 
lessly, by the House of Commons a reason for not appealing to 
the nation? Your Majesty's Ministers humbly think not, and 
that no satisfactory settlement can be arrived at without such 
an appeal. 

Under these circumstances the advice they would humbly 
offer your Majesty is to dissolve this Parliament as soon as the 
public interests will permit, and that an earnest endeavor should 
be made by the Government that such appeal should be made to 
the new constituency. 

In offering your Majesty this advice your Majesty's Ministers 
would most dutifully state that if your Majesty thought the 
question could be more satisfactorily settled, and the public 
interest best consulted, by the immediate retirement of your 
Majesty's present Ministers from your Majesty's service, they 
would at once place their resignations in your Majesty's hands, 
with only one feeling of gratitude to your Majesty for your 
Majesty's constant support to them in their arduous duties, which 
has always encouraged and often assisted them. 

From Queen Victoria. 

OSBORNE, May 2, 1868. The Queen has given her most serious 
consideration to Mr. Disraeli's letter, and cannot hesitate, as she 
has already verbally informed him, to sanction the dissolution of 
Parliament, under the circumstances stated by him, in order that 
the opinion of the country may be deliberately expressed on the 
important question which has been brought into discussion. 

The Queen admits the correctness of Mr. Disraeli's statement 
of the circumstances under which Lord Derby undertook the 
Government in the first instance, and Mr. Disraeli has since 
continued to carry it on. 

She has frequently had occasion to express her satisfaction at 
the zeal and ability with which the several departments of her 
Government have been administered; and while her Ministers 
have done nothing to forfeit the confidence she has hitherto 
reposed in them, she cannot think of having recourse to the 
alternative which Mr. Disraeli has placed before her, of accepting 
their resignations, till the sense of the country shall have been 
taken on a question which, [it] is admitted on all hands, cannot 
be settled in the present Parliament. 


It will be seen that, while an alternative tender was made 
of resignation, the advice given to the Queen was to dis- 
solve Parliament ' as soon as the public interests will per- 
mit,' coupled with a suggestion that, in the event of dissolu- 
tion, Ministers should make l an earnest endeavour ' to 
ensure that the appeal should be made to the new con- 
stituency; and that the Queen's reply was to refuse to ac- 
cept resignation, but l to sanction the dissolution of Parlia- 
ment, under the circumstances stated,' without making 
any distinction between the old constituency and the new. 

Disraeli had gone to the Queen without calling a Cabinet, 
relying on the general assent which his colleagues had given 
ten days before to a policy of dissolution rather than resigna- 
tion. This somewhat highhanded departure from precedent 
was naturally resented. ( Disraeli has communicated with 
none of us, which is strange,' wrote Hardy mildly in his 
diary. Malmesbury, more roundly, noted : ' The Min- 
isters are very angry with Disraeli for going to the Queen 
without calling a Cabinet, and the Duke of Marlborough 
wants to resign, but I have done all I could to dissuade him 
from this course.' The Duke, it will be remembered, was 
described by Disraeli, in writing to Cairns, as a * black 
sheep ' on this question. It is evident from the entries in 
Hardy's diary, and especially one on May 6 (' A Cabinet 
before Osborne would have altered everything, but now? '), 
that Disraeli avoided a preliminary Cabinet because he had 
good reason to fear that his colleagues would weaken in 
their resolution now that the moment for action had arrived, 
but might be trusted to accept a fait accompli. He re- 
turned from Osborne on the Saturday evening, May 2, saw 
on the Sunday two of the colleagues upon whom he prin- 
cipally relied, Cairns and Hardy, and perhaps others, and 
explained to them what had passed with the Queen. Hardy 
greatly doubted, and had a strong personal longing for 
resignation ; 1 Cairns expressed agreement with his chief ; 

i In 1889, on reconsideration of the whole position, Hardy wrote : 
' Looking back, I doubt if we could have done otherwise than we did ' 
(Gathorne Hardy, Vol. I., p. 273). 


and the Cabinet next day endorsed, though with consider- 
able hesitation, the bill which the Prime Minister had drawa 
upon its confidence. 

A course which had only with difficulty been accepted by 
Disraeli's colleagues could hardly be expected to commend 
itself offhand to the Liberal majority in the House of Com- 
mons. Disraeli's recital of the successsful conduct of af- 
fairs by Ministers since 1866, his justification by precedent 
of the constitutionality of government by a minority, his 
withdrawal of protracted opposition to the remaining Reso- 
lutions, and his promise to expedite public business so that 
the dissolution might take place in the autumn, did not 
prevent the Opposition from using, in Hardy's words, 
' plenty of unpleasant language ' about the advice which 
Ministers had tendered to the Queen. Gladstone protested 
angrily against a penal dissolution, though, in view of 
Disraeli's readiness to facilitate debate on the remaining 
Resolutions, he did not persist in his announced motion 
to take the conduct of public business into his own hands. 
Lowe said that Parliament was asked to give a ten months' 
lease of office to Ministers whom it did not trust; Ayrton 
and Bouverie denounced Disraeli for bringing the Crown 
into conflict with the Commons; Bright said that it was 
merely for the sake of prolonging his own term of office that 
Disraeli was making this outrageous demand on the in- 
dulgence of Parliament. Disraeli, in reply, pointed out 
that, while he was ready to make all arrangements for an 
appeal to the new constituency in November, the Queen's 
permission to dissolve was unqualified, without any refer- 
ence to old or new constituencies ; and he challenged the Op- 
position to give Parliamentary effect to their taunts by 
moving a vote of want of confidence. 

The challenge, as Disraeli expected, was not taken up. 
However ready the Liberal leaders might be to insult and 
to bluster, and their followers to annoy Ministers by put- 
ting them in a minority on this question and on that, the 
general sense of the House was that fap Government 


had passed Reform should remain in office to complete its 
work, and to pass the supplementary measures necessary to 
secure at the earliest possible date an appeal to the new con- 
stituency. The very reasonableness of this view only served 
to exasperate Gladstone and his friends ; and for several days 
they kept recurring to Disraeli's statements about his audi- 
ences of the Queen and the advice he had given her, suggest- 
ing supposed discrepancies and denouncing supposed im- 
proprieties. One such occasion is described in the following 

To the Duke of Richmond. 

CARLTON CLUB, May 5, 1868. Mr. Gladstone, 1 to-night, without 
giving me any notice whatever, called on me to explain what he 
described as a discrepancy in our statements as to the Queen's 
declaration in my audience at Osborne. 

Had he been courteous enough to give me the usual notice, I 
could have had the opportunity of conferring with your Grace, 
and learning from yourself what you had stated, instead of being 
referred to the mere extract of an alleged report in a newspaper. 

All that I could do, therefore, was to repeat what Her Majesty 
had been pleased to declare, and to add, that if there were any 
discrepancy in our statements, as I was the Minister, who had 
waited on Her Majesty, it seemed to me, that the inquiry ought 
rather to be made in the House of Lords, than to myself. 

I write this note, that your Grace should not suppose, that 
I hesitated to defend, or support, an absent colleague : but under 
the circumstances of the case, having had no notice from Mr. 
Gladstone, and having no evidence that the alleged quotation 
was authentic, I thought it best to take a course wh. suspended 
all judgment on the question. 

Another occasion arose on the motion of a Liberal mem- 
ber condemning the policy of making any public grants 
whatever in Ireland to religious bodies, such as the Regium 
Donum to Presbyterians, or the Maynooth grant and the 
proposed University endowment for Roman Catholics. A 
warm discussion sprang up, chiefly among Liberal members 
themselves; and Ayrton, whose unconciliatory and over- 
bearing demeanour in office was subsequently to bring dis- 

i ' In a white heat,' noted Hardy in his diary. 


credit upon Gladstone's first Administration, commented 
severely upon the absence of the Leader of the House dur- 
ing the debate. Disraeli, who arrived during Ayrton's 
lecture, made the characteristic excuse that there had been, 
as he anticipated, a quarrel among gentlemen opposite over 
the plunder of the Irish Church, and that it was not his duty 
to give an opinion on the subject. This sneer seems to have 
caused Bright to lose all command over himself, and to use 
language which necessarily brought to an end the uncon- 
ventional but undoubted private friendship which had ex- 
isted between him and Disraeli for twenty years. Bright 
had been falling under the spell of Gladstone's influence, and 
apparently was ready now to regard Disraeli through his 
rival's eyes. This is what he permitted himself to say : 

The right hon. gentleman the other night, with a mixture of 
pompousness and sometimes of servility, talked at large of the 
interviews which he had had with his Sovereign. I venture to 
say that a Minister who deceives his Sovereign is as guilty as 
the conspirator who would dethrone her. I do not charge the 
right hon. gentleman with deceiving his Sovereign. But if he 
has not changed the opinions which he held twenty-five years 
ago, and which in the main he said, only a few weeks ago, were 
right, then I fear he has not stated all that it was his duty to 
state in the interviews which he had with his Sovereign. Let 
me tell hon. gentlemen opposite, and the right hon. gentleman 
in particular, that any man in this country who puts the Sov- 
ereign in the front of a great struggle like this into which it may 
be we are about to enter who points to the Irish people and 
says from the floor of this House, ' your Queen holds the flag 
under which we, the enemies of religious equality and justice 
to Ireland, are marshalled ' I say the Minister who does that 
is guilty of a very high crime and a great misdemeanour against 
his Sovereign and against his country; and there is no honour, 
there is no reputation, there is no glory, there is no future name 
that any Minister can gain by conduct like this, which will 
acquit him to posterity of one of the most grievous offences 
against his country which a Prime Minister can possibly commit. 

it was an outrageous attack, and was suitably answered 
by Disraeli. Observers differed as to whether he was 
deeply moved or whether he merely spoke with quiet scorn. 


Lord Ronald Gower tells us that ' Dizzy quite lost his 
temper and shook his fist at Bright ' ; but Malmesbury's 
record is that the Prime Minister l replied in the most gen- 
tlemanlike manner, and was cheered by both sides of the 

I shall not condescend to notice at length the observations of 
the hon. member for Birmingham. He says that, when it was 
my duty to make a communication to the House, of the greatest 
importance, and which I certainly wished to make as I hope 
I did make it in a manner not unbecoming the occasion, I was 
at once pompous and servile. Well, sir, if it suits the heat of 
party acrimony to impute such qualities to me, any gentleman 
may do so ; but I am in the memory and in the feeling of gentle- 
men on both sides of the House and fortunately there are 
gentlemen on both sides of this House; they will judge of the 
accuracy of this representation of my conduct. It is to their 
feeling and to their sentiment on both sides of the House that I 
must appeal; and no words of mine, if the charge be true, can 
vindicate me. The hon. gentleman says that he will make no 
charge against me; and then he makes insinuations which, if he 
believes them, he ought to bring forth boldly as charges. I defy 
the hon. member, for Birmingham, notwithstanding his stale 
invective, to come down to the House and substantiate any charge 
of the kind which he has presumed only to insinuate. Let him 
prefer those charges; I will meet him; and I will appeal to the 
verdict only of gentlemen who sit on the same side of the House 
as himself. 

This challenge, it need hardly be added, was not met, 
any more than the challenge to bring forward a vote of 
censure had been met. But the stream of calumny in the 
House, on the platform, and in the press, flowed on un- 
abated. It was the cue of many Liberals to treat Disraeli 
as being capable of any trickery and of any breach of con- 
stitutional usage. When therefore Gladstone's second and 
third Resolutions had passed, the one suspending Irish ec- 
clesiastical appointments, the other praying the Queen to 
place her interest in the temporalities at the disposal of 
Parliament, the absurd suggestion was made that Disraeli 
was likely to advise the Queen to set herself in antagonism 


to the House of Commons by returning an unfavourable 
answer to the third Resolution. 

From General the Hon. Charles Grey. 

OSBORNE, May 5, 1868. . . . Her Majesty hears with much 
satisfaction what you say of the favourable prospects in the 
House of Commons; and trusts that your expectation of being 
able to surmount the difficulties still before you may be realised. 
She is very anxious to hear what you propose to advise her as 
to the answer to the Address which is the object of the third 
Resolution. The Times assumes that the ' Suspensory Bill ' 
" which the Address will ask the Queen to allow to be introduced, 
will certainly be thrown out in the House of Lords. This would 
place the H. of Lords in a position of antagonism to the House 
of Commons from which, in H.M.'s opinion, they ought, if pos- 
sible, to be saved. Yet, after all that has passed, it seems difficult 
for the Govt. to advise the Queen to refuse the request of the 

Could Her Majesty, without refusing it (on the contrary, 
expressing her anxiety to act with her Parliament in any measures 
calculated to give satisfaction to her Irish subjects), not require 
that, in a matter which cannot be settled without the concurrence 
of the House of Lords, the Address should be agreed to by both 
Houses? . . . 

Disraeli was too shrewd even to endorse this not unrea- 
sonable suggestion to withhold an answer to the Address 
till it had been adopted by both Houses; and the answer 
which, after special consultation with Cairns and Hardy, he 
settled in Cabinet stated that Her Majesty desired that her 
interest in the Irish temporalities should not stand in the 
way of the consideration by Parliament of legislation in the 
current sessions. Gladstone promptly introduced his Sus- 
pensory Bill, and the second reading was carried on May 
22 by a majority of fifty-four, after a debate in which the 
Opposition leader insisted that the choice lay between a 
system of concurrent endowment such as had been hinted 
at by the Government and the general disendowment which 
he himself proposed to effect by repealing the Maynooth Act 
and discontinuing the Regium Donum to Presbyterians, as 
well as by disestablishing and disendowing the Church of 


Ireland. Disraeli was hampered, in his reply, by the dis- 
favour with which the policy of concurrent endowment had 
been received by his own party and by the country. He 
accordingly minimised the extent to which the Government 
had committe_d themselves to it He denied that their Uni- 
versity proposals amounted to endowment, or that they con- 
templated paying the Roman Catholic clergy or increasing 
the Regium Donum. The logical position of Disraeli and 
his Government was necessarily much weakened by this 
public deprecation of the only alternative policy; a policy, 
moreover, which he favoured himself and which had the 
historical support of a succession of British statesmen from 
Pitt and .Castlereagh down to Russell, who had only aban- 
doned it that year. He had to fall back, as his main argu- 
ment, on the resulting danger to the Church of England. ' I 
say this act is the first step to the disestablishment of the 
English Church.' The correctness of this view has recently 
received unexpected confirmation from Mr. Birrell, Chief 
Secretary for Ireland for many years and no friend of the 
Church of England, who has deplored in an important State 
paper that the Irish Church was disestablished rather from 
a desire to please the Dissenters in England than to do jus- 
tice to Ireland. But a practical people like the English 
will never be deterred from dealing with a practical and 
admitted grievance by apprehension of possible but remote 

The Suspensory Bill had been pushed forward rather 
to show that Gladstone and the Liberals were in earnest than 
with any expectation that it would pass into law. Disraeli 
having once registered his opposition to it, facilitated its 
speedy passage to the Lords, where it was promptly rejected 
by a majority of two to one, on the ground that the whole 
question should be left without prejudice to the judgment 
of the electorate. 

From Lord Derby. 

ST. JAMES'S SQUARE, May 29, 1868. . . . I think ... I may 
congratulate you on being master of the position for the remainder 


of the Session, which I presume you will close as soon as you 
can. Will you allow me to suggest that, partly to promote that 
object, it would be well to let it be understood that you do not 
mean further to oppose Gladstone's Suspension Bill. . . . Our 
object should be to get it disposed of in the Lords as soon, and 
as summarily, as possible. I suggest this for your consideration 
as a matter of tactics, of which however you are too great a 
master to stand in need of any hint from me. . . . 

To Lord Derby. 

10, DOWNING STREET, May 30, 1868. I must thank you for 
your kind letter, and for your invaluable counsel. I had moved 
a little in the direction you advise, and will still further prosecute 
that course. . . . 

To Charles N. Newdegate. 

Confidential. 10, DOWNING ST., May 31, '68. I think it would 
be well to consider whether it may not be desirable to place no 
further impediments to the passing of the Suspension Bill in the 
House of Commons, so that the decision of the House of Lords 
may be taken as speedily as possible. 

It is probable that the Church Commission will report towards 
the end of next month, and if they recommend any modification 
of appointments it will be difficult for the Lords to oppose the 
Suspension Bill and they will be driven to define and limit its 
objects, instead of opposing the second reading: and this the 
country will never understand. 

No doubt Gladstone sees this chance and will not be in a 
hurry to carry his Bill through our House, whereas, in my 
opinion, our object should be to get it disposed of in the Lords 
as soon, and as summarily, as possible. 

I wish you would think over this and give me your opinion. 

These letters were written during the Whitsuntide recess, 
which roughly corresponded with the close of the great 
party struggle of the session. If Disraeli was, as Derby 
suggested, ' master of the position ' from that time till the 
prorogation, it was largely because he had not only evaded 
the snares of his foes, but had also brought his somewhat 
distracted Cabinet into harmony and subordination. 

To Mrs. Disraeli. 

HOUSE OF COMMONS, May 14, '68. I think we have got out of 
our danger, but it has been very ticklish. 


May 19, '68. The Cabinet was very satisfactory, and they 
signed a paper, projected and headed by the Duke of Richmond, 
to stand by me in any advice I should give the Queen on the 
great subject. This puts an end to one source of wearing dis- 
quietude, namely, the fear that the Cabinet might not stand firm 
and united. 

The reunited Cabinet utilised the recess to come to an 
agreement as to the measure to expedite the new register so 
as to make possible a General Election in November and the 
summoning of the new Parliament in December. Disraeli 
was justifiably anxious that the acceleration should not be 
such as to arouse a suspicion in the new constituency e that 
there is any design to neutralise the large franchises with 
which they have been wisely invested, by hurrying and 
hustling them in the establishment of their electoral privi- 
leges.' J But Cairns and Hardy were particularly urgent 
in pressing for an early date, to maintain the honour of the 
Government and to save them from any possible charge of 
bad faith ; and their scheme was accepted first by the Cabinet 
and then, amid general satisfaction, by Parliament. 

This Registration of Voters Bill was one of five measures 
which Disraeli carried during this session to complete the 
work of Parliamentary Reform. The factiousness of the 
Opposition made the progress of the Irish and Scottish Re- 
form Bills through the House of Commons a tedious and ag- 
gravating business, and Disraeli had need of all his tact 
and good temper to bring them safely into port. On the 
Scottish Bill, particularly, he was subjected to some annoy- 
ing defeats ; but, in pursuance of his acknowledged principle 
of acting, in regard to Reform, in co-operation with the 
general sense of the House, he accepted the amendments of 
the majority with a good grace. The Boundary Bill was 
the occasion of further worries. The decisions of the Com- 
mission appointed by the Government in 1867 were not 
accepted in the House, and were submitted for revision to a 
Select Committee presided over by Walpole. The Com- 

i Letter to Cairns, dated May 29. 


mission enlarged the Parliamentary boundaries of many big 
towns, but the Committee restored the old limits ; and Gov- 
ernment and Opposition, Lords and Commons, were set by 
the ears over the somewhat trivial questions as to which 
tribunal's decisions were to be followed, and whether a com- 
promise accepted by the Prime Minister in the Commons 
was binding on the majority in the Lords. Disraeli repu- 
diated the interpretation put by the Opposition on his words ; 
but, after the Liberal Peers had adopted the childish ex- 
pedient of leaving the House of Lords in a body, Malmes- 
bury and the majority gave way. 

To Lord Mdlmesbury. 

10, DOWNING STREET, July 3, 1868. I have learnt your proceed- 
ings in the House of Lords, last night, with astonishment. The 
interpretation placed on my words, when speaking of the progress 
of business in the House of Commons, is one painfully distorted. 
I was answering an enquiry as to the prospects of business in 
that House, and in estimating them, I mentioned, that certain 
measures, tho' they had not formally passed the House of Com- 
mons, might be considered virtually settled : that is to say, would 
lead, in the House of Commons, to no further debate or division. 

A much more important reform was effected by the Cor- 
rupt Practices Bill; and it is to the lasting credit of Dis- 
raeli that he removed the trial of election petitions from the 
jurisdiction of a partisan Committee of the House of Com- 
mons and transferred it to an impartial tribunal consisting 
of His Majesty's Judges. In order to carry this simple 
and desirable reform he had to overcome many obstacles, 
in particular the united protest of the Judges themselves 
against the new duties it was proposed to put upon them. 
The Bill underwent several changes and, in order to pass, 
had to be made experimental in form and duration ; but the 
principle was firmly established that irregularities commit- 
ted in political elections, like other breaches of the law, 
should be investigated and punished by a legal tribunal 
and not by a committee of active politicians. A great puri- 
fication of public life has resulted from the firm determina- 


tion of Disraeli and his Government to associate the proper 
trial and due punishment of corrupt practices at elections 
with the extension of the Parliamentary suffrage. 

If Disraeli's Parliamentary course was troubled, the prin- 
cipal external venture of his Government was brilliantly 
conducted. At the beginning of the very week which wit- 
nessed the decisive defeat of Ministers on Gladstone's first 
Resolution, there came news of the complete success of the 
Abyssinian expedition under the command of Sir Robert 
Napier. It was on the morning of Sunday, April 26, and 
about 11 o'clock, the present Lord Iddesleigh, on behalf of 
his father Northcote, the Secretary of State for India, 
brought the intelligence to Disraeli. He found him ' gor- 
geously arrayed in a dressing-gown and in imposing head- 
gear,' and, as might be expected, l opulent in compliment.' * 
The Queen told her Prime Minister that she was t truly de- 
lighted at the glorious and satisfactory news from Abys- 
sinia, which she thinks must have a favourable effect on the 
general position of the Government.' There was, indeed, 
universal satisfaction ; and Gladstone joined in the compli- 
ments paid, not only to the commander and his gallant 
force, but to the Government, and especially the Indian 
Secretary, for their prudent conduct of a difficult affair. 

For it was a very difficult affair to rescue a British en- 
voy and a British consul, who with other captives were im- 
prisoned in an impregnable fortress, far inland in a wild 
and inhospitable country, by a half-mad and only half- 
civilised potentate. Ministers had only with great reluc- 
tance accepted the necessity of sending an expedition, Stan- 
ley characteristically writing to Disraeli in the autumn of 
1866, 'I sincerely hope the W[ar] O[ffice] will find the 
country inaccessible. I think they will.' But, as Disraeli 
explained when moving the credit of 2,000,000 in Novem- 
ber, 1867, they felt that the honour of the Crown and the 
duty of the country were involved; that magnanimity and 
forbearance had been pushed to extreme limits ; that justice 

i Lang's Northcote, p. 194. 


could only be had by recourse to arms. None of the numer- 
ous little expeditions which England has sent out was ever 
more completely successful. The difficult country was 
safely penetrated, King Theodore's army was defeated with 
insignificant casualties on our side, his citadel Magdala was 
stormed, he himself committed suicide, and the prisoners 
were duly brought away. Disraeli may be forgiven the slight 
touch of pomposity with which, in moving Parliament to 
thank the commander and his forces, he dilated on the diffi- 
culties overcome and the success attained. Napier, he said, 
had to form a base on a desolate shore, to create a road 
through a wall of mountains, and to guide his army across 
a barren and lofty tableland, intersected with high ranges 
and unfathomable ravines ; leading l the elephants of Asia, 
bearing the artillery of Europe, over African passes which 
might have startled the trapper and appalled the hunter of 
the Alps.' Finally our troops ' had to scale a mountain 
fortress, of which the intrinsic strength was such that it may 
be fairly said it would have been impregnable to the whole 
world had it been defended by the man by whom it was 
assailed.' Thus it was, said Disraeli, linking modern 
achievement with Johnsonian romance, that ' the standard 
of St. George was hoisted on the mountains of Rasselas.' 

It was not merely for its conduct that the expedition was 
remarkable, but for its character. Disraeli pointed out in 
November, 1867, that the country was going to war, 'not 
to obtain territory, not to secure commercial advantages, but 
for high moral causes and for high moral causes alone.' 
Accordingly, when the prisoners had been released and 
Theodore's capital destroyed, the British force, having ac- 
complished its object, completely evacuated, by the orders 
of the Ministry, the country which it had successfully in- 
vaded. Disraeli naturally congratulated the House and 
the country on so unique a spectacle. 

When it was first announced that England was about to embark 
on a most costly and perilous expedition, merely to vindicate the 
honour of our Sovereign, and to rescue from an unjust but 

1867-1868] COST versus SUCCESS 45 

remote captivity a few of our fellow-subjects, the announcement 
was received in more than one country with something like mock- 
ing incredulity. But we have asserted the purity of our purpose. 
In an age accused, and perhaps not unjustly, of selfishness, and 
a too great regard for material interests, it is something, in so 
striking and significant a manner, for a great nation to have 
vindicated the higher principles of humanity. It is a privilege 
to belong to a country which has done such deeds. 

Disraeli has been charged with lowering the standard of 
British foreign policy by basing it upon British interests 
rather than upon public right and justice. The Abysssinian 
expedition, which his detractors prefer to ignore, is incon- 
testable evidence that he placed public right and justice 
high among British interests. The only criticism to which 
his policy on this occasion is fairly open is that he under- 
rated the cost. Ward Hunt, in his Budget speech, esti- 
mated the total at 5,000,000, and raised the income tax 
from fourpence to sixpence in order to meet the expense; 
but it turned out that nearly as much again was required, 
and Gladstone's Chancellor of the Exchequer had in 1869 
to provide for meeting the balance of an ascertained total of 
9,000,000. The fault seems to have lain mainly with the 
Indian Government, who supplied the General and the 
troops; but the miscalculation must necessarily detract 
somewhat from the credit otherwise due to Disraeli and 
his Government. Disraeli himself, in retrospect, treated the 
cost as a trifling matter in comparison with the successful 

To Lady Bradford. 

2, WHITEHALL GARDENS, Oct. 2, 1875. . . . I do not look 
back to the Abyssinian [war] with regret: quite the reverse. 
It was a noble feat of arms, and highly raised our prestige in the 
East. It certainly cost double what was contemplated, and that 
is likely to be the case in all wars for wh. I may be responsible. 
Money is not to be considered in such matters : success alone is 
to be thought of. Abyss, cost 9 mills, or so, instead of 4 or 5 
anticipated; but by that expenditure we secured the business 
being accomplished in one campaign. Had there been a second 
campaign, it wd. probably have been 19 mill, and perhaps failed 


from climate, or an abler and more prepared military re- 
sistance. . . . 

Though Parliament was prorogued at the comparative 
early date of July 31, yet once more, in spite of the time 
necessarily devoted to the corollaries of Reform, and of the 
many days spent on the Irish problem and Gladstone's new 
policy, there was a good harvest of other legislation. The 
Queen's Speech enumerated as having passed t Bills for the 
better government of public schools, the regulation of rail- 
ways, the amendment of the law relating to British sea 
fisheries, and for the acquisition and maintenance of electric 
telegraphs by the Postmaster-General, and several important 
measures having for their object the improvement of the 
law and of the civil and criminal procedure in Scotland.' 
A small measure, which was not mentioned, was the Act 
which abolished, none too soon, the degrading practice of 
public execution. The purchase of the telegraphs was a 
question to which Disraeli had paid special attention. To 
transfer the working of so essential a public service to the 
State was undoubtedly a great public benefit ; but the price 
paid to the telegraph companies was so high, and popular 
pressure for cheap messages so persistent, that the transac- 
tion has never yielded the profit to the State which those 
who effected it contemplated. The educational bill upon 
which the Cabinet had been closely engaged at the begin- 
ning of the year l did not get beyond a second reading in 
the House of Lords, where it was introduced by the Lord 
President, the Duke of Marlborough. It had the great 
merit of recognising the importance and dignity of education 
by constituting a comprehensive education department under 
a Cabinet Minister, a reform which Disraeli had advocated 
in 1855 2 but which Parliament did not accept till 1899, 
and it provided an effective conscience clause ; but Ministers 
hesitated to introduce the principle of a rate, without which 
a general system could hardly be established. It was a 

i See Vol. IV., ch. 16. 2 See Vol. IV. ch. 2. 


measure, in Disraeli's words, ' preliminary, but of magni- 
tude ' ; but there was no time to consider it, and the whole 
question, as he anticipated, was left over to the next Parlia- 

Through all the troubles and worries of this spring and 
summer Disraeli was greatly cheered and supported by the 
constant sympathy and encouragement of the Queen. Her 
Majesty considered that her Minister's conduct and the 
advice he had given her at the time of the crisis were per- 
fectly correct and constitutional; and she was disgusted 
with what she held to be the factious and unworthy treat- 
ment which he received at the hands of the Opposition. 
The relations between Sovereign and Minister, which were 
eventually to become so intimate, were drawn very per- 
ceptibly closer during this May and June. The Queen 
began that practice of sending Disraeli spring flowers, which 
was a constant mark of their later relationship, and which 
has resulted in the permanent association of his name and 
memory with the primrose; and he, whose official letters to 
his Sovereign had always sounded a strongly individual and 
personal note, was encouraged to develop this tendency and 
entertain Her Majesty by such correspondence as he alone 
was able to write. Lady Augusta Stanley told Clarendon 
at this time that ( Dizzy writes daily letters to the Queen in 
his best novel style, telling her every scrap of political news 
dressed up to serve his own purpose, and every scrap of 
social gossip cooked to amuse her. She declares that she 
has never had such letters in her life, which is probably true, 
and that she never before knew everything ! ' l 

Princess Christian to Mrs. Disraeli. 

May 12. Mama desires me to ... send you the accompany- 
ing flowers in her name for Mr. Disraeli. She heard him say one 
day that he was so fond of may and of all those lovely spring 
flowers that she has ventured to send him these, as they will make 
his rooms look so bright. The flowers come from Windsor. 

i Letter from Clarendon to Lady Salisbury. Maxwell's Clarendon, 
Vol. II.. p. 346. 


Mrs. Disraeli to Princess Christian. 

... I performed the most pleasing office which I ever had to 
fulfil in obeying Her Majesty's commands. Mr. Disraeli is pas- 
sionately fond of flowers, and their lustre and perfume were 
enhanced by the condescending hand which had showered upon 
him all the treasures of spring. 

From Queen Victoria. 

May 14. The Queen was glad to hear how very warmly Mr. 
Disraeli was received yesterday. It is very significant. The 
Queen trusts that the debate to-night * will be satisfactory, tho' 
Mr. Disraeli told her he had anticipated the worst. 

WINDSOR CASTLE, May 16, 1868. The Queen is most thankful 
to Mr. Disraeli for his very kind and feeling letter. She feels 
most deeply when others do sympathise as he does with her; 
Mr. Disraeli has at all times shown the greatest consideration 
for her feelings. . . . 

The Queen sends by this evening's messenger a few more flowers 
for Mr. Disraeli. 

BALMORAL, May 21. The Queen was very sorry to hear from 
Mr. Disraeli what an unsatisfactory night they had on Monday. 2 

She feels very anxious to hear what course they intend to 
pursue, but trusts that this as well as other difficulties will be 
got over, and this annoying Session soon be brought to an 
end. . . . 

May 23. . . . Keally there never was such conduct as that 
of the Opposition. 

May 25. The Queen thanks Mr. Disraeli for several kind 
letters. . . . 

The Queen is really shocked at the way in which the House of 
Commons go on; they really bring discredit on Constitutional 
Government. The Queen hopes and trusts, however, that to-day's 
division will be satisfactory and then there will be quiet. 

The sooner the Dissolution can take place the better. . . . 

June 6. The Queen thanks Mr. Disraeli very much for his 
kind, long letter. She hopes all will go smoothly. She regrets 
however the acrimonious discussion respecting the letter 3 which 
she wishes could have been avoided. This personal bitterness 

1 On the Boundary Bill. 

2 When the Government were defeated in important division on the 
Scotch Reform Bill. 

3 Gladstone had written a letter imputing to the Government a 
policy of concurrent endowment. 

1868] 'WE AUTHOES, MA'AM.' 49 

in politics is a bad thing, and if possible should be prevented. 
But alas ! it is often impossible. 

The Queen trusts the Session will speedily be got to an end, 
for it is sure to be disagreeable as long as it lasts. . . . 

June 21. . . . Most grateful to Mr. Disraeli for the gift of 
his novels, which she values much. 

It was particularly tactful and appropriate of Disraeli 
to present the Queen with his novels, as Her Majesty had 
herself entered the ranks of authorship in the beginning of 
the year by publishing Leaves from the Journal of our Life 
in the Highlands. There was thus a fresh link between the 
Minister and his royal mistress, which so accomplished a 
courtier could hardly fail to turn to good account. There 
is no reason to doubt the story which represents him as using 
more than once, in conversation with Her Majesty on liter- 
ary subjects, the words : * We authors, Ma'am.' 

To Arthur Helps. 

[January, 1868]. I am most obliged to you for sending me a 
copy, and an early one, of the royal volume. 

I read it last night and with unaffected interest. Its vein is 
innocent and vivid; happy in picture and touched with what I 
ever think is the characteristic of our royal mistress grace. 

There is a freshness and fragrance about the book like the 
heather amid which it was written. 

They say that truth and tact are not easily combined: I 
never believed so; and you have proved the contrary; for you 
have combined them in your preface, and that's why I like 

The Queen was far from well in the spring of 1868. She 
informed Disraeli in May that the anxiety and worry of the 
last two or three years were beginning to tell on her health 
and nerves; that she often feared she would be unable 
physically to go on ; and that she felt the necessity of rest 
in a pure and bracing air. A visit to Switzerland was ac- 
cordingly arranged; and the Queen, travelling as Countess 
of Kent, left England at the beginning of August. She 
passed through Paris, where a slight contretemps occurred 


which gave Disraeli an opportunity of showing how tactfully 
he could offer somewhat unwelcome advice. 

To Lord Cairns. 

Private. HUGHENDEN, August 11, 1868. . . . I heard from 
Lucerne to-day. Our Peeress is very happy and, as yet, quite 
delighted. Her house is on a high hill, above the town, with a 
splendid view over the lake; the air fine, the rooms large, lofty, 
cool. There has been rain and there is a grim world. 

The gentlemen of the suite don't like the hill ; facilis descensus, 
but the getting back will be awful. Stanley has not yet arrived, 
but he likes hills ; a member of your Alpine Club. 

There was a sort of Fenian outrage at Paris; one O'Brien, a 
teacher of languages, shook his stick at Princess Louise, and 
shouted ' A has les Anglais,' and some other stuff. The Queen 
was not there. 

I fear, between ourselves, the greater outrage was that our dear 
Peeress did not return the visit of the Empress. This is to be 
deplored, particularly as they had named a Boulevard after her, 
and she went to see it ! ... 

To Queen Victoria,. 

10, DOWNING STREET [August, 1868]. . . . There is no doubt 
that your Majesty acted quite rightly in declining to return the 
visit of the Empress at Paris. Such an act on your Majesty's 
part would have been quite inconsistent with the incognito as- 
sumed by your Majesty, for a return visit to a Sovereign is an 
act of high etiquette: which incognito is invented to guard 

Nevertheless there is, Mr. Disraeli would ask permission to 
observe, perhaps no doubt that your Majesty was scarcely well 
advised in receiving the visit, as such a reception was equally 
inconsistent with incognito. 

Certain persons, M. de Fleury notably among them, made a 
great grievance of the visit not being returned, but Mr. Disraeli 
hoped the matter would have blown over and been forgotten. The 
Empress, who is far from irrational, was not at first by any means 
disposed to take M. de Fleury's view, but everybody persists in 
impressing on her she has been treated with incivility ; and there 
is no doubt that it has ended by the French Court being sore. 

Mr. Disraeli thought it his duty to lay his matter before 
your Majesty; as your Majesty perhaps on your return, with 
your Majesty's happy judgment, might by some slight act grace' 
fully dissipate this malaise. 


It was not found possible to arrange to make the return 
visit as the Countess of Kent passed through Paris on her 
way back to England; but Lady Ely wrote to Disraeli: 
1 The Queen desires me to tell you that H.M. has written to 
the Empress herself to express all her regrets, but to say 
H.M. has given up paying visits now and had declined go- 
ing to her own relations, but hoped at some future time when 
she passed through Paris to call and see the Empress.' 

Immediately upon her return to this country, Her Ma- 
jesty commanded Disraeli's presence for ten days at Bal- 
moral, where he had never before been Minister in attend- 
ance. Mrs. Disraeli did not accompany him, and he kept 
her fully informed of his doings and experiences. 

To Mrs. Disraeli. 

PEBTH, Sept. 18, '68: 

MY DARLING WIFE, I telegraphed to you this morning, that 
all was well. Within an hour of this place, where we ought to 
have arrived a little after eleven o'clock, it was signalled that 
something had gone wrong with a goods train, and that the road 
was blocked up: and we had to sit in the dark for two hours 
and more! However, this was better than being smashed. 
Everything, otherwise, has gone very well. 

You provided for me so admirably and so judiciously, that I 
had two sumptuous meals: a partridge breakfast, and a chicken 
and tongue dinner: and plenty of good wine! I did not slumber 
on the road, but had a very good night here, and have got up 
early, quite refreshed, to send you a telegram, and write a few 
letters, this particularly, which you will get to-morrow. 

There was a great mob at Carlisle who cheered me very much, 
but I profited by our experience during our Edinbro' visit, and 
would not get out: so they assembled on the platform round the 
carriage. It was an ordeal of ten minutes : I bowed to them and 
went on reading; but was glad when the train moved. 

I was greatly distressed at our separation, and when I woke 
this morning, did not know where I was. Nothing but the 
gravity of public life sustains me under a great trial, which no 
one can understand except those who live on the terms of entire 
affection and companionship like ourselves: and, I believe, they 
are very few. 

Write to me every day, if it is only a line to tell me how you 
are; but you, with your lively mind and life, will be able to tell 


me a great deal more. Montagu [Corry] will have discovered 
by this time the best mode of communication. The Queen's 
messenger goes every day by the same train I did 10 o'clock 
Euston. Adieu, with a thousand embraces, my dearest, dearest 
wife. D. 

BALMORAL CASTLE, Sept. 19, '68. Arrived here last night, % 
past nine; the household at dinner. The Queen sent a consider- 
ate message, that I need not dress, but I thought it best, as I 
was tired and dusty, not to appear: particularly as I found some 
important letters from Stanley on my table. They served me a 
capital little dinner in my room, and I had a very good night. 
. .'i I thought it right to appear at breakfast to-day, as I had 
not presented myself last night. 

Lady Churchill in attendance and Miss Lascelles, and Lord 
Bridport, etc., etc. 

Bridport told me that I need not wear frock coats, ' which, 
as a country gentleman, I know in the country you must 

Sept. 20. I write to you whenever I can snatch an opportunity, 
and they are so frequent here, but so hurried, that I hardly know 
when I wrote to you last, or what I said. Yesterday, I dined with 
the Queen, a party of eight. H.M., the Prince and Princess 
Xtian, Princess Louise, the Duke of Edinburg, and myself, Lord 
Bridport and Lady Churchill. 

We dined in the Library, a small, square room, with good 
books very cosy ; like dining with a bachelor in very good rooms 
in the Albany. 

Conversation lively, though not memorable. The Duke of 
Edinburgh talked much of foreign fruits, and talked well. 

Although my diet has been severe, and I have not tasted any- 
thing but sherry since we parted, I have suffered much from 
biliary derangement, which weakens and depresses me. . . . 
Yesterday morning I went out walking with Lord Bridport, 
and made a tour of the place : so I quite understand the situation, 
and general features : I much admire it. Mountains not too high : 
of graceful outline and well wooded, and sometimes a vast 
expanse of what they call forest, but which is, in fact, only wild 
moor, where the red deer congregate. The Duke of Edinbro' 
came from the Prince of Wales' place with his keepers, and dogs, 
and guns. . . . He wears the tartan and dined in it : and so did 
Prince Xtian, but it was for the first time; and the Duke told 
me he was an hour getting it on, and only succeeded in getting 
it all right by the aid of his wife and his affectionate brother- 
in-law. . . . 


Sept. 21. The Queen sent for me yesterday afternoon. 

Her rooms are upstairs: not on the ground floor. Nothing 
can be more exquisite, than the view from her window. An 
expanse of green and shaven lawn more extensive than that from 
the terrace of Clifden, and singularly striking in a land of 
mountains: but H.M. told me, that it was all artificial, and they 
had levelled a rugged and undulating soil. In short, our garden 
at Hughenden on a great scale: except this was a broad, green 
glade, the flower garden being at the other side of the Castle. I 
dined with the household, and, between ourselves, was struck, 
as I have been before, by the contrast between the Queen's some- 
what simple, but sufficient dinner, and the banquet of our 
humbler friends. 

Sept. 22. The weather here, instead of being cold as they pre- 
dicted, has been wet and warm: and my room every day too hot; 
so I have written always with a fire, and the window open. It 
is now, under these circumstances, 63: but my fire nearly out. 

Yesterday, after a hard morning's work for the messenger 
goes at 12 o'clock, and I rise exactly at seven ; so I get four hours' 
work Lord Bridport drove me to see some famous falls of 
Garrawalt: and though the day was misty and the mountains 
veiled, the cataract was heightened by the rain. I never in my 
life saw anything more magnificent: much grander falls often, 
as in Switzerland, but none with such lovely accessories; such 
banks of birchen woods, and boulders of colossal granite. 

I dined with the Queen again yesterday. . >. . 

Sept. 23. Yesterday we went one of those expeditions you 
read of in the Queen's book. Two carriages posting and changing 
horses. We went to the Castle of Braemar, where, every year, 
the contiguous clans assemble, and have Highland games. The 
castle was most picturesque, and is complete and inhabited, and 
in old 'days must have been formidable, as it commands all the 
passes of the valleys. I was very glad that there were no games. 
The drive to it sublime, or rather nobly beautiful. Then we went 
on to the Linn of Dee a fall of the Dee River ; and on the bank 
we lunched. One might take many hints for country luncheons 
from this day, for our friends have great experience in these 
matters: and nothing could be more compact and complete than 
the whole arrangements. The party was very merry: all the 
courtiers had a holiday. Lady Churchill said that, when she 
asked the Queen, through the Princess Louise, whether she was 
wanted this morning, the Queen replied ' No : all the ladies are 
to go, to make it amusing to Mr. Disraeli.' 

Returning we went to Mar Lodge, and took tea with Lady 


Fife. There we found Sylvia Doyle, looking more absurd than 
any human being I can well remember. The highlanders call 
her ' The colored Lady.' Her cheeks were like a clown's in a 
pantomime, and she had a" pile of golden hair as high as some of 
the neighbouring hills. However, she smiled and cracked her 
jokes as usual, and gave me, as usual, a long list of all the places 
she was going to. 

Lord Bridport gave me the enclosed photographs for you. I 
saw the Queen on my return home on business. We left Bal- 
moral at !/2 past 12 and got home by 7 : a very fine day : no clouds 
on the mountains and the outlines all precise : while we lunched, 
sunshine; and not a drop of rain the whole day. 

Sept 24. The Queen gives her Minister plenty to do : but I 
will write every day, however briefly. . . . 

Sept. 25. Only a line to keep up the chain. . . . 

The Queen has got a photographer and insists upon my being 
done. This gave me an opportunity to give your collection to 
Lord Bridport. I said you had sent them for the Queen, but I 
would not give them, etc., etc. : but he did ; and the Queen was 
delighted . . . ' and said many kind things about Mrs. Disraeli.' 
I shall try to find them out. 

Sept. 26. The bag has brought me no letter from you this 
morning, which greatly distresses me: for although all goes on 
well here, I am extremely nervous, my health being very unsatis- 
factory. ... I have never tasted one of your dear peaches, 
which I much wished to do for your sake, and have drunk nothing 
but sherry. However, the attack never continues in the day, 
but then I am in a miserable state in these morning hours, when 
I have to do the main work, and the work is very heavy. . . . 

I leave this on Monday, and get to Perth to sleep, and the next 
morning to Knowsley, as I must see Lord Derby. On Thursday, 
I propose to be at Grosvenor Gate, after, an absence of a fort- 
night! . . . 

This morning, the Queen has sent me two volumes of views 
of Balmoral : a box full of family photographs, a very fine whole- 
length portrait of the Prince, and ' a Scotch shawl for Mrs. 
Disraeli, which H.M. hopes you will find warm in the cold 
weather.' To-day, I am resolved to keep in my room. 

Adieu, my dearest love; though greatly suffering, I am sus- 
tained by the speedy prospect of our being again together, and 
talking over a 1,000 things. 

Sept. 27. The Queen sent for me yesterday after she came 
home from her ride : but said, when I left H.M., ' This is not 
your audience before leaving.' 


Sept. 28. A very rapid letter before departure. The joy 
at our soon meeting again is inexpressible. 

Princess Christian said yesterday, that they were all very 
sorry I was going, but she knew who was glad, and that was 
Mrs. Disraeli. . . . 

I had a long audience of the Queen at four o'clock, and 
shortly afterwards was invited to dine with H. Majesty again. 

Disraeli's visit to Balmoral coincided with a great pres- 
sure of public work, and he realised the serious inconven- 
ience caused to public interests by a ten days' sojourn of the 
Prime Minister in the remote Highlands. ' Carrying on 
the Government of a country six hundred miles from the 
metropolis doubles the labour/ he wrote to Bishop Wilber- 
force. He only repeated the experiment once, in 1874; for 
the rest of his second Administration he prevailed on Her 
Majesty to excuse him from taking his turn of Ministerial 
attendance at Balmoral. 


The fate of the Irish Church and of the Conservative 
Ministry and party would be decided by the result of the 
General Election in ISTovember. To one competent observer 
it appeared a fairly matched fight. Clarendon wrote in 
June : l Confidence in Gladstone seems on the increase 
thro'out the country, though it remains feeble and station- 
ary in the H. of C. On the other hand a demoralised na- 
tion admires the audacity, the tricks, and the success of the 
Jew.' Disraeli realised the powerful effect that organisa- 
tion might produce; and with his well-known disregard of 
money was ready to take a liberal lead in supplying the 
necessary funds. t What we want,' he wrote to Stanley, 
' is to raise one hundred thousand, which, it is believed, will 
secure the result. It can be done if the Cabinet sets a good 

To Lord Beauchamp. 

10, DOWNING ST., June 22, '68. The impending General Elec- 
tion is the most important since 1832, and will, probably, decide 
the political situation for a long period. The party that is best 
organised will be successful. No seat, where there is a fair 
prospect, should be unchallenged. To effect this, and to operate 
on a class of seats hitherto unassailed, it is necessary that a fund, 
to aid the legitimate expenses of candidates, should be raised, 
and that upon a scale not inferior to the range which democratic 
associations have, on more than one occasion, realised, in order 
to advance their views. 

As it is natural that the success of such an effort must depend 
upon the example set by Her Majesty's Government, I have 
induced my colleagues in the Cabinet to subscribe a minimum 



sum of ten thousand pounds, tho', if they follow my example, 
it will reach a greater amount. 

May I hope that you will support me in this enterprise ? Some 
more formal application may, possibly, be made to you; but, 
to so intimate a friend, I prefer to appeal myself. 

One thing was clear to Disraeli, namely, that, in determin- 
ing the result of the General Election, the Church of Eng- 
land, if united and resolved, must play a considerable, per- 
haps a preponderant, part. To secure active support for a 
cause, in which, to his mind, her own ultimate fate was in- 
volved, he bent his energies ; and it was with that temporal 
end largely in view that he distributed the ecclesiastical 
patronage of the Crown, which happened to be of a pecul- 
iarly momentous character in his nine months' premiership. 
Five sees had to be filled in that short period, including those 
of Canterbury and London; three or four deaneries, in- 
cluding that of St. Paul's ; besides canonries, a divinity pro- 
fessorship, and important parochial cures. Both Low 
Churchmen and High Churchmen were restive. The for- 
mer marked with alarm the rapid advance of Tractarianism 
and the resulting Ritualism, and many of them were dis- 
posed to quit for Dissent a Church which seemed to them 
to be heading straight for Rome; the latter were inclined 
to regard themselves as the only true inheritors of the 
Anglican tradition, to resent the want of recognition under 
which their leaders suffered, and to magnify the episcopal 
character of the Church at the expense of its national aspect. 
To Disraeli, who never forgot the popular outburst at the 
time of the Papal aggression, the political danger, at least, 
appeared to be greatest from the Low Church side; and, 
though he desired to make a fair distribution among all 
loyal schools, it was to placate the Evangelicals that he 
mainly set himself. />>. 

In this whole question of Church patronage he laboured 
under two serious disadvantages: personal ignorance of the 
leading clergy, and a multiplicity of divergent counsellors, 
eager to enlighten that ignorance. Keenly interested as he 


was in the ultimate issues of religion, and considerable as 
had been his study of the historical claims and present 
needs of the Church of England, Disraeli had never moved in 
ecclesiastical or even academical circles, and knew only such 
clergy as he met in society; moreover, though he regularly 
attended his parish church, he did not go about to hear 
preachers of renown. In Dean Stanley's Life 1 there is a 
story of the Dean's meeting Beaconsfield in the street, on 
the last Sunday in 1876, and taking him to hear for the 
first time F. W. Farrar, whom he had just made a Canon, 
preach in Westminster Abbey. To Gladstone it would have 
been an ordinary experience; to Beaconsfield it was a 
' Haroun-al-Raschid expedition ' to be piloted into the north 
transept of the Abbey to hear a popular preacher. The 
Dean and the Premier listened, unnoticed, for a few minutes, 
and then came out. ' I would not have missed the sight for 
anything,' said Beaconsfield ; ' the darkness, the lights, the 
marvellous windows, the vast crowd, the courtesy, the re- 
spect, the devotion and fifty years ago there would not 
have been fifty persons there.' It was the comment of an 
artist and not of an informed churchgoer. ' Send me down 
to-morrow the clergy list. I don't know the names and de- 
scriptions of the persons I am recommending for deaneries 
and mitres,' Disraeli wrote to Corry in August, 1868, from 
Hughenden ; and again from Balmoral in September, ' Ec- 
clesiastical affairs rage here. Send me Crockford's direc- 
tory ; I must be armed.' ' He showed an ignorance about all 
Church matters, men, opinions, that was astonishing,' said 
Wellesley, Dean of Windsor, in November. One leading 
Churchman Disraeli did know well, his own Bishop, Samuel 
Wilberforce. But much as he admired his gifts both of 
oratory and of organisation, he did not trust one who had 
been for years hand in glove with Gladstone; and he was 
convinced that the great mass of his countrymen distrusted 
him still more. 

i Vol. II., p. 447. 


The Bishop was one of those who were eager to direct 
the disposal of the Crown patronage. He and Hardy and 
Beauchamp * plied Disraeli with recommendations on the 
High Church side; while Cairns, on the Low Church side, 
aspired to play the same part in Disraeli's ecclesiastical ap- 
pointments as Shaftesbury had in Palmerston's. Derby's 
advice also was sought and given on every important occa- 
sion. Last, but by no means least, the Queen had strong 
views of her own, founded partly on the Broad Church tra- 
ditions of the Prince Consort, but largely on personal ex- 
perience of distinguished divines. Her Majesty, moreover, 
had naturally no political bias, such as, consciously or un- 
consciously, swayed Disraeli himself and most of his other 
counsellors ; but was guided solely by the good of the Church, 
as she saw it. 

Disraeli's first important appointment was to the Bishop- 
ric of Hereford. There he disregarded both his Low 
Church and his High Church advisers, and nominated a 
hard-working parish clergyman of moderate opinions, Atlay, 
the Vicar of Leeds. This was in May. It was in August 
that he made his great bid for Protestant support by ap- 
pointing to the Deanery of Ripon Canon McNeile of Liver- 
pool ; l a regular Lord Lyndhurst in the Church,' as an 
Evangelical correspondent wrote, who would make l the 
Protestant party fight like dragons for the Government.' 
Cairns was naturally ' satisfied that nothing more politic 
could occur at the present time.' It would stop the feeling 
that was abroad that the Bishop of Oxford was interfering 
and influencing Church patronage a feeling which was 
due, no doubt, to the appointment of Wilberforce's chap- 
lain, Woodford, to succeed Atlay at Leeds. Derby was 
startled ; McNeile's nomination seemed to him ' rather a 

i Beauchamp had endeavoured to influence ecclesiastical appoint- 
ments while Derby was Prime Minister. Disraeli wrote to him on 
Nov. 24, 1866: 'I will do my utmost, and immediately, to forward 
your wishes; but, entre nous, I don't think my interference, in matters 
of that kind, is much affected: at least, I fancy so. I asked for a 
deanery the other day, for Hansel, but he is not a Dean.' 


hazardous bid for the extreme Low Church.' Disraeli did 
not disguise from his leading colleague his electioneering 

To Lord Stanley. 

HUGHENDEN, Aug. 16, 1868. . . . No human being can give 
anything like a precise estimate of the elections until the Regis- 
tration is over. All that is certain at present is, that we have 
our men better planted than our opponents; more numerous 
candidates, and stronger ones. The enemy also have no elec- 
tioneering fund. It is a fact that both the Duke of Devon [shir]e 
and D. of Bedford refused to subscribe. We, on the contrary, 
have a fund, tho' not */2 large enough : but sufficient to stimulate 
and secure contests, where there is a good chance, and which, 
otherwise, would not have been engaged in. 

What we want at this moment is a strong Protestant appoint- 
ment in the Church. I have been expecting a Bishop to die every 
day, but there is hardly a ' good Protestant ' strong enough to 
make a Bishop. I thought, however, of recommending Dean 
Goode, an Evangelical, but really an ecclesiastical scholar, and 
equal in Patristic lore to any Puseyite father. 

Strange to say, instead of being made a Bishop, he has sud- 
denly died : and I have recommended the Queen to make McNeile 
of Liverpool, Dean of Ripon, which is a Protestant diocese. I 
believe the effect of this will be very advantageous to us. . . . 

Aug. 21. . . . Things are rapidly maturing here: the country, 
I am convinced, is, almost to a man, against the High Ch. party. 
It is not the townspeople merely, but the farmers universally, the 
greater portion of the gentry, all the professional classes: nay! 
I don't know who is for them, except some University dons, some 
yoxithful priests and some women; a great many, perhaps, of the 
latter. But they have not votes yet. 

It's still a quarter of a year to the dissolution, and that's a 
long time for this rapid age: but I have little doubt it will end 
in a great Protestant struggle. The feeling in England is getting 
higher and higher every day: but it is Protestant, not Church, 
feeling at present. The problem to solve is, how this Protestant 
feeling should be enlisted on the side of existing institutions. I 
think it can be done: but it will require the greatest adroitness 
and courage. 

Not a Cath. will be with us : not even Gerard. They can't. . . . 

The Queen, like Derby, was startled at the nomination 
of McNeile, and only consented with reluctance. But Dig- 


raeli was so satisfied with what he had done that he was 
anxious, when the Bishopric of Peterborough presently fell 
vacant, to proceed with another strongly Evangelical ap- 
pointment. Here he met with decided resistance from the 
Queen, to whom he explained at length his view of the ec- 
clesiastical and political situation. 

To Queen Victoria. 

[End of Aug., 1868]. . . . The appointment of the new Dean 
of Ripon has quite realised Mr. Disraeli's expectations: it has 
done great good, has rallied the Protestant party and has been 
received by the other sections with no disfavor or cavil. 

Since Mr. Disraeli wrote last a long impending vacancy on 
the Episcopal Bench has occurred. There is no necessity to 
precipitate the appointment and the final decision can await 
your Majesty's return. Perhaps Mr. Disraeli may be permitted to 
wait on your Majesty at Windsor on your Majesty's return, before 
he attends your Majesty in Scotland, to which he looks forward 
with much interest. 

On the nomination to the See of Peterboro' in the present 
temper of the country much depends. The new prelate should 
be one of unquestionably Protestant principles, but must com- 
bine with them learning, personal piety, administrative ability, 
and what is not much heeded by the world but which is vital 
to the Church, a general pastoral experience. 

Mr. Disraeli after the most careful enquiries and the most 
anxious thought is strongly inclined to recommend to your 
Majesty Canon Champneys of St. Paul's and Vicar of Pan- 
eras. . . . 

Affairs at this moment ripen so rapidly in England, that he 
must lay before your Majesty the result of his reflexions on a 
mass of data, that for amount and authenticity was probably 
never before possessed by a Minister. He receives every day 
regular reports and casual communications from every part of 
the United Kingdom. . . . 

There is no sort of doubt that the great feature of national 
opinion at this moment is an utter repudiation by all classes 
of the High Church party. It is not only general : it is universal. 

If the Irish Church fall it will be owing entirely to the High 
Church party and the prejudice which they have raised against 
ecclesiastical establishment. 

Mr. Disraeli speaks entirely without prejudice. The bias of 


his mind from education, being brought up in a fear of fanati- 
cism, is certainly towards the High Church, but he has no sort 
of doubt as to the justness of his present conclusions and it is 
his highest duty to tell your Majesty this. 

Nevertheless the Church as an institution is so rooted, and the 
doctrine of the royal supremacy so wonderfully popular, that if 
the feeling of the country be guided with wisdom Mr. Disraeli 
believes that the result of the impending struggle may be very 
advantageous and even triumphant to the existing constitution 
of the country. . . . 

From Queen Victoria. 

LUCERNE, Sept. 7, 1868. The Queen thanks Mr. Disraeli for 
his two letters. She is glad that Mr. Disraeli has not pressed for 
an answer relative to the new Bishop, as the appointments are 
of such importance, not only for the present but for the future 
good of the Church in general, that it will not do merely to 
encourage the ultra-Evangelical party, than wh. there is none 
more narrow-minded, and thereby destructive to the well-being 
and permanence of the Church of England. Dr. McNeile's 
appointment was not liked by moderate men, but still, this hav- 
ing been done, it is not necessary or advisable to make more of 
a similar nature, and the Queen, with the greatest wish to sup- 
port the Government and the Protestant feeling in the country, 
feels bound to ask for moderate, sensible, clever men, neither 
Evangelical or Ritualistic in their views, to be appointed to 
the high offices in the Church. 

The Church of England has suffered from its great exclusive- 
ness and narrow-mindedness, and, in these days of danger to her, 
all the liberal-minded men should be rallied round her and 
pressed into her service to support her and not to make her more 
and more a mere Party Church, which will alienate all the 
others from her. This is the more important as we are threatened 
with the loss of several more Bishops and of one most eminent 
man the Dean of St. Paul's. . . - 1 

To Queen Victoria. 

[Sept., 1868]. . . . If, when the verdict is given, the Church 
of England is associated in the minds of the people with the 
extreme High Church school, the country will deal to that Church 
a serious, if not a deadly, blow. 

Your Majesty justly observes that the appointment of Dr. 

i Milman, the ecclesiastical historian. 


McNeile did not satisfy moderate men. With becoming humility 
Mr. Disraeli would venture to observe it was not intended to do 
so. But it satisfied some millions of your Majesty's subjects and 
acted as a safety valve to such an extent, that while, before that 
appointment, an extreme pressure on your Majesty's advisers 
existed to appoint to the vacant see some professor of very decided 
opinions, from the moment of the preferment of Dr. McNeile 
that pressure was greatly mitigated, and almost ceased. 

With humility Mr. Disraeli would presume to observe, that 
he knows not, in his long political experience, any happier in- 
stance of seizing the apropos. 

The country was on the eve of a series of public meetings 
on the Church, held by Churchmen, to protest against the imputed 
designs of the Crown and the Crown's Ministers in favour of 
Ritualism and Rationalism, when this preferment was decided 
on. Twenty preferments of clergymen of the same type as 
McNeile but not of his strong individuality would not have 
produced the effect. 

And what did he receive ? A mock deanery which your Majesty 
could not have offered to some of the great scholars who sigh 
for such, etc. 

The appointment of Dr. McNeile already allows your Majesty 
greater latitude in the selection of a Bishop. 

Again, if a wise selection be made in this instance of Peter- 
boro' your Majesty will find still more freedom in the impending 
vacancies which your Majesty is obliged to contemplate but 
which it is trusted may be at least postponed. 

Your Majesty very properly wishes to appoint to the Bench 
' moderate, sensible, and clever men ' neither Ritualist nor Evan- 
gelical. But Mr. Disraeli humbly asks, Where are they to be 
found? The time is not come, at least certainly not the hour, 
when Deans of St. Paul and Westminster, and men of that class 
of refined thought, however gifted, can be submitted to your 
Majesty's consideration. It is not ripe for that; tho' with pru- 
dence it may be sooner than some suspect. The consequences of 
such a step at this particular moment would be disastrous. And, 
as for men, qualified as your Majesty wishes, without the pale of 
that school, why your Majesty has already been obliged to go to 
New Zealand for a Prelate, 1 and even Dr. Atlay, whom Mr. Dis- 
raeli recommended to your Majesty as almost ultimus Roman- 
orum, is denounced, tho' erroneously, as a creature of the Bishop 
of Oxford, a prelate, who, tho' Mr. Disraeli's diocesan, he is 

i Selwyn. 


bound to see is absolutely in _ this country more odious than 

As a matter of civil prudence, he would presume to say wis- 
dom, Mr. Disraeli is of opinion, that the wisest course at this 
conjuncture is to seek among the Evangelical school some man 
of learning, piety, administrative capacity, and of views, tho' 
inevitably decided, temperate and conciliatory in their applica- 
tion. He thinks that, with the more ardent satisfied by the 
tardy recognition of McNeile and the calmelr portion, now 
alarmed and irritated, encouraged and soothed and solaced by 
such an appointment as that which he indicates, we might get 
over the General Election without any violent ebullition: and 
even if another vacancy were to occur in the interval, a man 
more conformable with your Majesty's views might be advanced, 
if Your Majesty could fix upon one. 

The names which Mr. Disraeli, after the most anxious and 
painful investigation, places before your Majesty's consideration, 
are both of, as he believes, admirable men: and who by their 
standing, compass of mind, and tact in their intercourse with 
their fellow-clergy, are qualified for the office of a Bishop. 

They are Canon Champneys of St. Paul's and Vicar of Pan- 
eras, Archdeacon Hone of Worcester. 1 

Doubtless neither of these appointments would please the 
sacerdotal school nor even satisfy the philosophic: that is not 
to be expected : but they would be received with respect alike by 
Ritualist or Rationalist; and with confidence and joy by the 
great body of your Majesty's subjects. 

From Queen Victoria. 

BALMORAL, Sept. 18, 1868. Tho' the Queen will have an 
opportunity of seeing and conversing with Mr. Disraeli on this 
important and difficult subject, viz. the Church appointments, 
she thinks it as well to put down in writing the result of much 
reflection on her part. 

First of all it is to be remembered that any ultra-Protestant 
appointment, or at least any extreme Evangelical one, will only 
alienate the other party and not please the really moderate men 
while it is bringing into the Church those who by their natural 
illiberality will render the Church itself more and more un- 
popular. . . . 

The deanery of St. Paul's, which the Queen fears will soon 
be vacant, she thinks ought certainly to be given for eminence 

11805-1881: Rector of Halesowen, and Archdeacon of Worcester: 
a respected but hardly outstanding Evangelical. 


only either as a preacher or a writer irrespective of party, 
and she trusts that, should we lose the valuable, distinguished and 
excellent present Dean of St. Paul's, Mr. Disraeli will concur 
in this. Another very clever man, and the finest preacher the 
Queen has ever heard out of Scotland, and whom she would 
much wish to see promoted is the Dean of Cork (Dr. Magee). 

To Lord Derby. 

Private. PERTH, Sept. 18, '68. . . . I wish I could consult 
you about the Bishop, but it would require a volume instead of 
a letter. These questions, within the last few months, have 
become so critical and complicated. They were always difficult 
enough. I have begun to write to you several times on this 
subject, but have given it up in despair from the utter inability 
of conveying to you my view of the circumstances in a letter. 

I think the deanery of Ripon has been a coup. I was really 
surrounded by hungry lions and bulls of Bashan till that took 
place, but, since, there has been a lull, and an easier feeling 
in all quarters strange to say among all parties. Probably 
they were all astounded. 

Oh! for an hour of confidential talk in St. James' Square! 
There are priests now, and men of abilities, who are as perverse 
as Laud, and some as wild as Hugh Peters! ... I am, as I 
always am, to you, most faithful, D. 

The High Church party were deeply affronted by Mc- 
Neile's appointment. Even so moderate and representative 
a Churchman as Hook, Dean of Chichester, came out against 
the Conservative cause. Disraeli complained to the Bishop 
of Oxford that ' in the great struggle in which. I am em- 
barked, it is a matter of great mortification to me that I 
am daily crossed, and generally opposed, by the High 
Church party.' The Bishop replied on September 11 : 
* The vast body of sound Churchmen are entirely with you 
on the great question of the day. But I should not tell you 
all that I believe to be the truth if I did not add that there 
is at this moment a jealous and alarmed watchfulness of 
your administration of Church patronage. Those who 
through the long period of Palmerston's Administration held 
their fidelity in an ostracised position are in danger of being 
alienated.' The Bishop assisted Disraeli by explaining to 


Hook that McNeile's appointment only meant that no al- 
lowed party in the Church would be excluded from promo- 
tion; but he repeatedly urged Disraeli to placate what he 
called ' the strong middle party of orthodox English 
Churchmen/ who alone could give him the support he 
wanted. Disraeli rejoined emphatically from Balmoral 
on September 28 : 

There can be no doubt that every wise man on our side should 
attract the Protestant feeling, as much as practicable, to the 
Church of England. It has been diverted from the Church of 
England in Scotland. There the Protestant feeling is absolutely 
enlisted against us. If we let it escape from us in England, all 
is over. It appears to me that, if we act in the spirit of the 
Dean of Chichester, we may all live to see the great Cburch 
of England subside into an Episcopalian sect. I will struggle 
against this with my utmost energy. 1 

Disraeli, apparently, knew little or nothing of Magee, 
the great orator of the Irish Church, till his name was sug- 
gested by the Queen. But soon recommendations came from 
many quarters in his favour ; and before the end of the month 
he attracted widespread attention as the preacher of a fa- 
mous sermon of appeal from the Irish Church to her Eng- 
lish sister, on the text : ' They beckoned unto their part- 
ners, which were in the other ship, that they should come 
and help them.' 2 

To Montagu Corry. 

BALMORAL, Sept. 21, '68. . . . The Queen, I found, very de- 
sirous to make Magee (Dean of Cork) the Bishop. I waived 
all this by saying he must be an Oxford man, and she suggested 
the Dean might be one: but I had no book to refer to, and I 
am not sure whether Crockford, shortsighted Crockford, bio- 
graphises the Irish clergy. Generally speaking, I also discour- 
aged the idea: but to my intense surprise I received yesterday 
a letter from John Manners, the highest Churchman in the 
Cabinet, proposing Magee himself for my consideration, as an 
appointment which would satisfy all parties. We should then, 

1 Life of Bishop Wilberforce, Vol. III., pp. 266, 267. 

2 St. Luke, v. 7. 


he said, by this, and the instance of Selwyn, prove our recogni- 
tion of the unity of the Church: colonial and Irish, etc. 

One objection to Magee is, that his appointment would give 
us nothing, and that is a great objection. 

The Queen prevailed, and Magee was appointed Bishop, 1 
Champneys being preferred to the Deanery of Lichfield. 
For the Deanery of St. Paul's, Disraeli had a very suitable 
man of his own, Mansel, the distinguished Oxford meta- 
physician, who had been associated with him on the Press, 
and who shared and powerfully expressed the scepticism 
which Disraeli entertained of the value of the conclusions 
of German professors and theologians. The author of 
Phrontisterion was a congenial spirit with the orator of 
the Sheldonian theatre. 

The appointments of Magee and Mansel gave very gen- 
eral satisfaction, approval being expressed by Derby, Hardy, 
and even Wilberforce. The latter's favourite candidate, 
Leighton, the Warden of All Souls, though disappointed of 
a Bishopric, was made a Canon of Westminster; and the 
High Churchmen were further placated by the appointment 
of the energetic Gregory to a Canonry at St. Paul's, and of 
the scholarly Bright to Mansel's chair at Oxford the lat- 
ter appointment pressed by Beauchamp, who warned Dis- 
raeli that the High Church party other than ' the old port- 
winers ' were holding aloof from the political contest. But 
a much more difficult and delicate selection was now laid 
upon Disraeli. In the end of October the Archbishop of 
Canterbury, Dr. Longley, died. 

To Lord Derby. 

Secret. 10, DOWNING STREET, Nov. 2, 1868. Returning from 
Balmoral, I was disappointed in the opportunity of consulting 
you on two important matters : the Church appointments then 

i Magee, at the time Dean of Cork, had written to the Prime Minis- 
ter, ' asking him, when filling up the deanery of St. Paul's, to give 
him one of the appointments that might be vacant in so doing.' Ma- 
gee's biographer notes the touch of humour in Disraeli's reply, ' begin- 
ning with a refusal of the Dean's modest request on the first page, 
and then making the offer of the bishopric when he turned over the 
leaf.' MacDonnell's Magee, Vol. I., p. 197. 


pending, and my address, of which I would have brought you 
the draft. However, I got through those difficulties, and pretty 

Now comes a greater one: the Archbishop. 

My Church policy was this: to induce, if possible, the two 
great and legitimate parties to cease their internecine strife, 
and to combine against the common enemies: Hits and Rats. 
This could only be done by a fair division of the patronage, 
and though at first beset by great difficulties, arising from party 
jealousy and suspicion, I think I have now succeeded in getting 
them well to work together. . . . 

As I did not want a very High Churchman, or an Evangelist, 
for Archbishop, the materials from which I could select were 
very few. I was disposed in favour of the Bishop of Gloucester, 1 
whom I don't personally know, but was pleased by his general 
career since your accession to office, and also by a correspon- 
dence which he held, subsequently, with me, arising out of the 
Ritual Commission. It seemed to me very desirable that the 
new Primate should not be mixed up with all the recent contro- 
versies, and clerical fracas, which have damaged all concerned 
in them. I sent my proposal, with well digested reasons: the 
boxes crossed, and one came to me saying that there could be 
no doubt what was to be done, as there was only one man fit 
for the position : the Bishop of London. 2 Then came another 
box, mine having been received, still more decided, if that could 
be. Now I think the Bishop of London an appointment which 
will please neither of the great parties and only a few clerical 
freethinkers, who think, and perhaps justly, he may be their 
tool, and some Romanisers 'for he supports sisterhoods as 
strongly as Oxford or Sarum. 3 I wrote in reply, acknowledg- 
ing the two letters, and saying merely they should have my 
most serious attention, and I have been employed all this morn- 
ing in drawing up a statement touching the whole case, which 
will be received, by the person to whom it is addressed, on her 
arrival on Thursday. That will be followed, probably, by an 
audience on Saturday, and before that time I should be deeply 
obliged if you would give me, through the ever faithful secre- 
tary, 4 some hints, and your general impressions. . . . 

From Lord Derby. 

Confidential. ENOWSLEY; Nov. 3, 1868.. . . . I am afraid 
that I can do but little towards relieving you from the difficulty 
in which you are now placed. ... I agree in your general 

i Ellicott. 2 Tait. a W. K. Hamilton. * Lady Derby. 


principle of dealing, in respect to patronage, with the rival 
parties in the Church; and you have been fortunate in having 
at your disposal a succession of appointments which has enabled 
you to distribute your favours with some appearance of im- 
partiality. But the appropriation of the highest prize of all 
can hardly be hoped to give general satisfaction, and you must 
be satisfied if it does not produce general discontent. Your 
range of choice is limited, and your materials by no means first- 
rate. I cannot agree with- H.M. that the Bishop of London 
would be either a popular or a judicious selection. I am per- 
haps prejudiced against the man, but I must confess that I 
have no confidence in his judgment. If you should be finally 
driven to promote him, which I hope will not be the case, the 
Bishop of Oxford, though ineligible for the Primacy, would 
make a very good and useful Bishop of London. 

With the Bishop of Gloucester, whom you name, my acquaint- 
ance is only slight. He is undoubtedly a learned man, and I 
believe a sound Churchman, rather inclining to the High School. 
But I should doubt his having much strength of character, and 
he has a foolish voice and manner which make him appear weaker 
than I believe he really is. He is said, and I believe with reason, 
to be entirely under the influence of the Bishop of Oxford. Of 
the other Bishops, has the name ever occurred to you of my 
Bishop of Bochester, Claughton? If his opinions are not too 
High Church, he has many qualifications for the office and I 
think that you might do worse. Harold Browne, the Bishop 
of Ely, is a man of very high reputation but I do not know him 
personally, even by sight. 

To Lord Derby. 

Secret. 10, DOWNING STREET, Nov. 12, 1868. Harold Browne 
is offered as a compromise. But what do I gain by Harold 
Browne? While H.M. will only be annoyed. I could win, if 
I had a man. I don't know personally the Bishop of Gloucester 
and you can't fight for a person you don't know. I proposed 
him as one appointed by Palmerston, and yet not an Evangelical, 
and certainly, from his correspondence, not a follower of the 
Bishop of Oxford. The Bishop of Oxford is quite out of the 
running, so great is the distrust of him by the country. That 
is the great fact, that has come out of the canvass of England. 
I thought, last night, of taking the Bishop of London, and 
countervailing his neological tendencies, which I think form the 
great objection to him, and, of course, his great recommenda- 


tion in the eyes of H.M., by raising Jackson 1 to London. He 
is orthodox and Protestant. . . . 

Tait was a Liberal and a Broad Churchman, unacceptable 
to Disraeli on the score both of politics and of theology. 
Accordingly Disraeli fought with passion against his ap- 
pointment, coming out of the royal closet, it was noticed, in 
great excitement, and telling Malmesbury l Don't bring any 
more bothers before me; I have enough already to drive a 
man mad.' But, having no really satisfactory candidate of 
his own, he had to give way in the end; and the Church 
thereby gained a statesman on the throne of Canterbury, 
but one whose want of sympathy with the Oxford school 
impaired his usefulness in the troubled times which followed. 
Tait, in his diary, described with a dry humour his inter- 
view with the Prime Minister after the nomination. 

He harangued me on the state of the Church; spoke of ration- 
alists, explained that those now so called did not follow Paulus. 
He spoke at large of his desire to rally a Church party, which, 
omitting the extremes of rationalism and ritualism, should unite 
all other sections of the Church; alluded to his Church appoint- 
ments as aiming at this Champneys, Merivale, 2 Wordsworth, 
Gregory, Leighton, myself, Jackson. He promised to support 
a Church Discipline Bill, but deprecated its being brought in 
by Lord Shaftesbury. Remarked that, whether in office or out, 
he had a large Church party. ... I stated my views shortly, 
and we separated. 3 

For the see of London Dean Wellesley told Wilberforce 
that Disraeli proposed Christopher Wordsworth, the nephew 
of the poet, the learned Canon of Westminster. ' The 
Queen objected strongly; no experience; passing over Bish- 
ops, etc; then she suggested Jackson, and two others, not 
you, because of Disraeli's expressed hostility ; and Disraeli 
chose Jackson.' Though Jackson made a good Bishop of 
London, Disraeli had better have taken Derby's advice and 
proposed Wilberforce, whom the Queen would have ac- 
cepted. Wilberforce's energy and organising power, his 

1 Bishop of Lincoln. 

2 The historian, appointed Dean of Ely. 
s Tait's Life, Vol. I., p. 536. 


knowledge of the world and of society, his high reputation 
and influence in the Church, would have made him almost 
an ideal Bishop for London. Manners, writing to Disraeli 
two years later about the lament in the General Preface to 
the novels that no Churchman equal to the occasion had 
arisen from the Oxford movement, says : * I doubt whether 
a Churchman was not produced by the Oxford movement 
sufficiently a statesman, with all his faults, to have helped 
you greatly; and I have never understood why, when, for 
reasons I can appreciate, you sent Tait to Lambeth, you 
did not transfer Wilberforce to London.' The reason was 
that, as appears in letter after letter, Disraeli was told, from 
the most divergent quarters, that public opinion throughout 
the country would resent the appointment, and visit its 
displeasure at the polls on the Government responsible for 
it. It must be borne in mind that, though the world knows 
now how carefully and loyally the Bishop kept the via 
media, of Anglicanism, he was still in 1868 outside his dio- 
cese widely suspected of Homeward tendencies, which had 
operated with fatal effect in his own family. Since he 
became Bishop all three of his brothers, and two brothers- 
in-law, of whom Manning was one, had joined the Roman 
Church ; and in this very year the example was followed by 
his daughter and her husband. Disraeli can hardly be 
blamed for not facing the threatened storm; but, had he 
shown his wonted courage here, he would not have lost a 
useful ally or alienated a powerful party. 

For the appointment of Wordsworth to the Bishopric 
of Lincoln, of Bright to a professorship, and of Leighton 
and Gregory to canonries, did not console the High Church 
party for the slight to their principal champion ; and Wilber- 
force himself could not hide the bitterness of his disappoint- 
ment. He wrote in his diary, * I am trying to discipline 
myself, but feeling the affront,' and to a friend, ' In myself 
I really thank God ; it very little disturbs me. I in my rea- 
son apprehend that by the common rule in such matters I 
had no right to be so treated ; but I am really thankful in 


feeling so cool about it.' He had resented Gladstone's new 
policy and had been working cordially with Disraeli to save 
the Irish Church. But now he resumed his former inti- 
mate association with Gladstone, who became Prime Min- 
ister next month; and he was unsparing in condemnation 
of his rival. He immediately began to contrast the two 
men greatly to Disraeli's disadvantage, ' Gladstone as ever : 
great, earnest, and honest ; as unlike the tricky Disraeli as 
possible ' ; and to smooth the way for Gladstone's Irish 
policy, by writing to Archbishop Trench, of Dublin, urging 
him to arrange a compromise. Trench had suggested delay, 
till Gladstone had realised the difficulties before him. The 
Bishop replied that this would be a wise course if they were 
dealing with l a master of selfish cunning and unprincipled 
trickery,' 'a mere mystery-man like Disraeli,' whose whole 
idea was ' to use the Church to keep himself in office ' ; but 
happily in Gladstone they had ' a man of the highest and 
noblest principle.' * And when Lothair was published, in 
which he himself was portrayed, the Bishop wrote : ' My 
wrath against D. has burnt before this so fiercely that it 
seems to have burnt up all the materials for burning and to 
be like an exhausted prairie-fire full of black stumps, 
burnt grass, and all abominations.' Fortunately the Bishop 
was translated in 1869, on Gladstone's motion, from Oxford 
to Winchester, so that he no longer had among his flock the 
statesman with whom he had for a time so zealously co- 
operated, but of whom, since his disregard of his diocesan's 
claims to promotion, he had come to think so meanly. 

In the general result, with the conspicuous exception of 
the neglect of Wilberforce, the appointments for which Dis- 
raeli was responsible were not unsatisfactory ; and his policy 
of fair division and of a clear insistence on the national 
character of the Church was a right policy. But it cannot 
be denied that in its application he pursued a seesaw and 
zigzag course, and laid himself open to Dean Wellesley's 
criticism that ' he rode the Protestant horse one day ; then 

i Wilberforce, Vol. III., pp. 277-279. 


got frightened it had gone too far and was injuring the 
county elections, so he went right round.' The result was 
that, so far as his object was a political one, he did not suc- 
ceed in it ; there was no such union at the General Election, 
as he hoped for, of all parties in the Church to resist Glad- 
stone's Irish policy. ' Bishoprics, once so much prized, are 
really graceless patronage now,' he wrote ruefully during the 
year to Derby ; ' they bring no power.' The Crown had in- 
tervened in Church patronage in a decisive way, largely ow- 
ing to the Minister's ignorance ; had carried the Archbishop 
of its choice directly in his teeth, and had proved the deter- 
mining factor in other appointments, including the striking 
nomination of Magee. Both in the principles which Her 
Majesty laid down, and in the divines whom she recom- 
mended, the Queen's intervention must command respect, 
and it attained, as well as deserved, success. 

Disraeli maintained intimate and confidential relations 
with his predecessor Derby throughout this Government, and 
had constant recourse in all difficulties to his counsel. He 
even submitted, the Queen's Speech to be delivered on the 
prorogation of Parliament to his revision. Derby made 
considerable alterations in the form, though not in the 
substance, of the draft; but only advanced these as sug- 
gestions, and hoped Disraeli would not think he had taken 
too great liberties with his ' skeleton.' Sensible as he was 
of his obligations to Derby and the house of Stanley, Dis- 
raeli sought, as Prime Minister, for opportunities of show- 
ing his gratitude and friendship. Early in the spring he 
paid his old chief the graceful compliment of placing at his 
disposal the lord-lieutenancy of Middlesex ; and at the close 
of the session he found an official vacancy for Frederick 
Stanley, Derby's younger son, afterwards War Secretary, 
Governor-General of Canada, and the sixteenth earl. Derby 
declined the lord-lieutenancy, as he had no local connection 
with the county, and no local interest ; but he was gratified 
by the political opening afforded to his son. 


To Lord Derby. . 

Private. 10, DOWNING STREET, July 31, 1868. Parliament 
being prorogued, I have had the pleasure of offering the Civil 
Lordship of the Admiralty to Frederick, and shall be gratified 
if he accept it. At any rate, it is an introduction to official 
life, and his tenure of office may last longer than some imagine. 

We work at the elections with ceaseless energy. I have got 
the matter out of the hands of Spofforth, and placed in those 
of a limited, but influential, Committee of gentlemen, and it 
seems to work very well. 

Lord Abercorn is to be an Irish Duke, and Mayo our Indian 
Viceroy: so the Irish Government may be satisfied. What the 
Irish title is to be I can't tell you. The Prince of Wales wants 
it to be Ulster, of which he is Earl, 1 but as I would not counte- 
nance this, H.R.H. is to go to the Queen to-morrow anent. I 
should think the regal brow would be clouded, and that our 
friend must be content with being Duke of Abercorn. He is 
very happy, and six inches taller. 

I had thought of offering the Irish Secretaryship to Elcho, 
a friend of Lord Abercorn, but His Excellency seems to think 
that the political connection might disturb the fervor of the 
friendship. If so, I think it must be John Manners, who is 
sensible, conciliatory, and very painstaking, and certainly will 
not ' override ' Abercorn, or quarrel with anybody. Then Elcho 
might have J.M.'s place. But would he take it without the 
Cabinet ? And Henry Lennox will resign if he be not promoted ! 
Nothing seems to satisfy him, and if he had Henry Corry's 
place, he would soon want mine. 2 

The Cabinet to-day was very tranquil, a great contrast to 
three or four months ago. Cairns is a great success at the 
Council Board. 

Short as was Disraeli's term of office, he had not merely 
to give an Archbishop to Canterbury, but a Governor-Gen- 
eral both to Canada and to India. The first of these two 
posts were offered in succession to Mayo and to Manners, 
but was eventually filled by a seasoned administrator, Sir 
John Young, afterwards Lord Lisgar, who had been High 
Commissioner for the Ionian Islands and Governor of New 

1 Derby pointed out in reply that it was the Duke of Edinburgh, 
and not the Prince of Wales, who was Earl of Ulster. 

2 Wilson Patten, created at the close of the Government Lord Win- 
marleigh, was ultimately appointed Irish Secretary. 


South Wales. Mayo, who had done yeoman service for his 
country and his party as thrice Chief Secretary for Ireland, 
was sent to India. 

From Lord John Manners. 

April 30, '68. In spite of all your encouraging kindness, for 
which I shall never cease to be grateful, I have finally decided 
mainly on private and family grounds to decline the great 
post offered to me last week; and have written to the Duke of 
Buckingham to that effect. 

Though private considerations have determined this decision, 
I own I derive satisfaction from thinking that it will enable 
me to remain by your side to the end of the most eventful 
chapter in our political life. 

Let it terminate as it may, it will always be to me a source 
of unalloyed pleasure to have seen you at the summit of power, 
and to have had my humbler fortunes linked unbrokenly to 

To Sir Stafford Northcote. 

10, DOWNINQ STREET, June 9, 1868. I could have wished to 
jhave replied to your letter x instantly, but every moment, yester- 
day, was taken up. Although your loss to me would be not 
easily calculable, I don't think I could allow it to weigh against 
your personal interests, for which, I trust, I have always shown 
a due regard. But the Indian V. Royalty has always been 
destined for Lord Mayo, who did not wish to return to Ireland, 
and I spoke to Lord Derby, with that view, when his Govern- 
ment was formed, and when you did not occupy that great 
office of State, 2 which you have since administered with so 
much satisfaction to the country, and with so much credit to 
yourself. Cartainly, Lord Mayo's administration of Ireland 
affords no reason for disturbing the prospect in which, for a 
considerable time, he has been permitted to indulge, and, being 
myself now at the head of affairs, it would hardly become me 
to shrink from the fulfilment of expectations, which I sanctioned 
and supported as a subordinate member of the Ministry. 

I could not speak to you on this matter before, because, 

1 Northcote's name had been canvassed, among others, as that of a 
possible Viceroy; and he wrote to say that, while he would very much 
like to go to India, he did not put himself forward as a candidate, and 
would most cheerfully accept Disraeli's decision. Only, for family 
reasons, he should like to know, as soon as might be convenient, what 
the decision was. 

2 Indian Secretary. 


when the prospects of the Ministry were not as bright as they 
are at present, Lord Mayo had nearly made up his mind to 
go to Canada, when the next mail brought the news, that the 
wise Parliament of the Dominion had reduced the salary of the 
Governor-General from 10,000 to 6,000 per annum, thereby 
depriving themselves of ever having the benefit of the services 
of a first-class man. 1 

You did quite right in addressing me directly and frankly, 
and I reply to you in the same spirit. I should be more than 
sorry to occasion you disappointment, because I highly esteem 
and regard you, and am anxious, so far as it is in my power, 
to advance, and secure, your fortunes. 

How well Mavo justified Disraeli's choice is recorded in 
English and Indian history. But the Liberals, indignant 
at the wealth of patronage that had fallen to a Ministry 
which they maintained to have no constitutional claim to 
remain in office, raised a loud outcry at the appointment 
in their press, and intimated in no uncertain fashion that, 
if they got a majority in the election, they would cancel it. 
This was no mere journalistic bravado, as has sometimes 
been asserted since. The correspondence of the Liberal 
leaders shows that cancellation was seriously contemplated. 
' If you cancel Mayo's appointment,' Granville wrote to 
Gladstone on September 28, ' what do you think of Salis- 
bury ? It would be a teat taken away from our pigs, but it 
would weaken the Opposition.' ' I think the suggestion an 
excellent one,' Gladstone replied. 2 If Mayo was after all 
left undisturbed, and the Duke of Argyll, Gladstone's In- 
dian Secretary, was able to assert that no advice to remove 
him was given to the Crown or contemplated by the Glad- 
stone Government, the reason may be found in the following 
letters : 

From Lord Stanley. 

Private. F.O., Sept. 17, 1868. I hear from more than one 
quarter, and in a manner that leaves no doubt on my mind as 
to the truth of the report, that the Opposition have decided, in 

1 The Queen was advised to withhold her assent to the bill reducing 
the salary, which accordingly remains 10,000 per annum. 

2 Fjtzmaurice's Granville, Vol. I., p. 541, 


event of their coming in before the end of the year, to remove 
Mayo, even if he should have sailed, from the Gov.-Gen.ship. . . . 
I think this worth naming, as you may be able to stop it 
in limine by getting the Queen to express her disapproval. The 
step is an extremely unusual one the only precedent being the 
removal of Lord Heytesbury to make way for Lord Auckland, 
which caused the Afghan War. . . . 

To Lord Stanley. 

BALMORAL, Sept. 21, 1868. . . . Your hint about Mayo was 
a propos, for our Mistress herself touched upon the business. 
She thinks the contemplated recall of her representative will 
weaken her name and authority in India : as if she were a mere 
pageant! This is the Constitutional view, and I confirmed it. 
There is a material difference in recalling a Govr.-Genl. of the 
Company and the Vice-Roy of the Sovereign. Clearly. 

H.M. recurs to her hope, that, whatever happens, we shall 
gain a material accession of strength. I told her the truth 
that all the stories about, respecting the result of the General 
Election, were alike untrustworthy: that the great body of the 
new constituency in towns were unpledged : that the new electors 
in the counties were reported as singularly conservative; and 
the victory, at the last moment, would be to the party, which 
was wealthiest, and best organised. 

She does not conceal, from me at least, her personal 
wishes. . . . 

Magnanimity to foes and gratitude to friends were among 
Disraeli's most notable qualities ; and in both respects power 
revealed the man. In all the early stages of his career he 
had been held up to ridicule by John Leech in Punch with 
a mercilessness which was far removed from the bonhomie 
with which the artist and the journal treated other public 
men. But when his attention was called in 1868 to the fact 
that Leech's widow, who had been granted a pension by the 
Liberal Government, was dead, and that his two children 
were more than ever in want of assistance, he had no hesita- 
tion in continuing the pension to the family, remembering 
only the dead artist's genius and disregarding the persistent 
animosity of his pencil. His enduring gratitude to a bene- 
factor was manifested in a still more striking manner. 


For many years after the caprice of the Duke of Port- 
land, in calling in the money advanced by the Bentincks 
for the purchase of Hughenden, had thrown Disraeli back 
upon the moneylenders, 1 his private affairs were in an un- 
satisfactory condition and he was greatly hampered by the 
exorbitant interest on his apparently still accumulating 
debts. In the winter of 1862-1863 fortune sent him a 
much-needed relief. The Conservative cause in the North 
had a strong supporter in a Yorkshire squire, Andrew 
Montagu, of Melton, Yorks, and Papplewick, Notts; son 
of'Fountayne Wilson, who had sat in Parliament for the 
undivided county of York ; and representative, in the female 
line, of the famous Charles Montagu, Earl of Halifax, the 
Finance Minister of William III. Andrew Montagu was 
a bachelor of great wealth and of somewhat eccentric habits. 
The story runs that he made inquiries in that winter of the 
Conservative headquarters as to how best he could use his 
wealth to promote the success of his party. Among other 
suggestions he was told that a rich man could render no 
more acceptable service to the cause than by buying up the 
debts of the leader in the Commons, and charging him only 
a reasonable interest in the place of the exactions under 
which he was suffering. He showed himself disposed to 
entertain the idea, and was put by Eose, through whom the 
negotiation was carried on, into communication with Dis- 
raeli's friend, Baron Lionel de Eothschild, who was himself 
ready to help Disraeli pecuniarily, but who, as Disraeli 
wrote, preferred to give, not lend, to his friends. Eoths- 
child and Montagu met, with the result that, in return for 
a mortgage on Hughenden, accompanied, it may be, by 
some guarantee or assurance from Eothschild, Montagu 
assumed the whole responsibility for Disraeli's debts, charg- 
ing him apparently merely the 3 per cent, which was then 
the interest on Consols intsead of the 10 per cent, or more 
that he was previously paying. The immensity of the 
service thus rendered to Disraeli may be gauged by the 
i See Vol. III., p. 152. 

1862-1868] ANDREW MONTAGU 79 

fact that lie estimated the resulting increase in his annual 
income, in one letter at 4,200, and in another at 5,000. 
His gross income in 1866 appears to have been nearly 
9,000 a year ; but by that time he had received 30,000 as 
Mrs. Brydges Willyams's residuary legatee. 1 

Disraeli was anxious to show his gratitude by recommend- 
ing his benefactor for a peerage. It was perhaps rather 
a hazardous step; but Rose, who encouraged his chief, 
quoted as a precedent in its favour the Carrington peerage, 
conferred at Pitt's instance on Robert Smith, the banker, 
to whom the Minister was under great personal and pecuni- 
ary obligations. He advised Disraeli to disregard an anony- 
mous letter of warning. He pointed out that this was no 
case of an obscure man of recently acquired wealth. Mon- 
tagu's father had formerly refused a peerage, and he him- 
self, though eccentric, was a man of great possessions, good 
family, and political influence in the county of York. 
Thus reassured, Disraeli made the offer. 

To Andrew Montagu. 

BALMORAL CASTLE, Sept. 20, 1868. It is my intention, if 
agreeable to you, to recommend Her Majesty to confer on you 
the dignity of the Peerage. 

Altho', unlike your father, who was the last representative 
of the undivided county of York, you have not chosen to avail 
yourself of a seat in the House of Commons, your vast posses- 
sions, noble lineage, and devotion to the Conservative party, 
fully authorise this act on the part of the Queen, as one in 
entire conformity with the social custom, and the Constitu- 
tional practice, of the Realm. 

Montagu declined the honour, mainly on the ground that 
his usefulness to Disraeli and to the Conservative party in 
the forthcoming elections would be seriously impaired if he 
accepted a title. His friends in Yorkshire, where he was 
a leading worker for the Conservative cause, would think he 
wanted to save himself from a sinking ship. In other cir- 

i See Vol. III., ch. 13. 


cumstances he might accept a favour from his ' best friend 
and benefactor/ but not in the autumn of 1868. 

The election was to be fought upon domestic issues, and 
it would avail Disraeli little with the new electors that 
he was able to boast, with good reason, that a great im- 
provement had supervened in our foreign relations by the 
substitution of Stanley for Russell in the direction of our 
policy. He dwelt on this improvement on more than one 
occasion, but especially in a speech at Merchant Taylors' 
Hall in June. 

When we acceded to office the name of England was a name 
of suspicion and distrust in every Court and Cabinet. There 
was no possibility of that cordial action with any of the Great 
Powers which is the only security for peace; and, in conse- 
quence of that want of cordiality, wars were frequently oc- 
curring. But since we entered upon office, and public affairs 
were administered by my noble friend [Stanley] ... I say that 
all this has changed; that there never existed between England 
and foreign Powers a feeling of greater cordiality and confi- 
dence tban now prevails ; that while we have shrunk from 
bustling and arrogant intermeddling, we have never taken refuge 
in selfish isolation; and the result has been that there never was 
a Government in this country which has been more frequently 
appealed to for its friendly offices than the one which now 

The Liberals could only reply that a considerable im- 
provement had been effected in Clarendon's few months of 
office after Palmerston's death, and reproach Disraeli, in 
Gladstone's words, with his language of ' inflated and exag- 
gerated eulogy.' That Stanley's conduct of foreign affairs 
was eminently satisfactory was the general opinion of all 

It looked at one time as if Disraeli would have the good 
fortune of settling the acute questions which separated this 
country from America. His constant yet dignified friend- 
liness to the United States throughout the troubled period 
of the Civil War merited such a success. The difficulty 
mainly arose from the negligence, in the observance of neu- 


trality during that period, of the Palmerston Administra- 
tion, and especially of Russell its Foreign Secretary, who 
had permitted the Alabama, to escape from a British port to 
prey on American commerce. Russell had obstinately main- 
tained the correctness of his action, or rather inaction, and 
refused to refer the questions at issue to arbitration in any 
form. Stanley, as Foreign Minister, had adopted a more 
reasonable course. He was prepared to accept arbitration ; 
but he resisted, with practically universal approval here, an 
attempt by the American Secretary of State to include in 
the reference the question of the recognition by this country 
of the belligerent rights of the Confederate States a recog- 
nition which the Federals had themselves made in proclaim- 
ing a blockade. But the speech in which Stanley announced 
his policy in March, 1868, was so conciliatory as well as 
firm that public opinion in America was favourably im- 
pressed ; and, as a result, when a vacancy arose in the sum- 
mer in the United States Ministry in London, a notable 
man, Senator Reverdy Johnson, was appointed Minister, 
with, as Stanley understood, f very conciliatory instruc- 
tions.' When Johnson arrived, Stanley was in Switzerland 
in attendance on the Queen ; and so it fell to Disraeli to show 
the appreciation of the British Government. He immedi- 
ately asked the newcomer down to Hughenden to meet a 
distinguished party, including the hero of the hour, Sir 
Robert Napier, just created Lord Napier of Magdala, and 
the historian Lord Stanhope. 

To Lord Stanley. 

HUGHENDEN, Aug. 16, 1868. . . . Reverdy J. has not arrived. 
I will send a Secy, the moment he does, and ask him down 
here. The hero of Magdala is coming on the 24th. I should 
like to kill them with the same stone. 

I have given orders for the new Adm[iralt]y Patent to be 
prepared, as I hear there is no danger, now, of any election 
being precipitated at Preston, so Fred, will be soon at work: 
Sir M. Hicks Beach to be U. Secy. Home, and Jem Lowther to 
have his place in the Poor Law Board, which he will represent 
in the Commons. Thus we get the young ones, who promise, 


into the firm, and they will sit on the front bench, wherever 
that may be. 

To Montagu Corry. 

HUGHENDEN, Aug. 21. . . . Understand the Minister of the 
Un: States comes on Tuesday. . . . Remember, if you can, the 
venison: and oh! don't forget some work of the illustrious and 
noble author, 1 bound, and let me have it in time to put book 
plate in: otherwise, enemy for life. . . . 

Aug. 23. . . . I count on your punctuality to-morrow: as I 
hear to-day, there is to be a triumphal arch at the entrance of 
the Park, and Mr. Coates and the tenantry on horseback to 
escort the hero ! I entirely rely on your being the Master of the 
Ceremonies. . . . 

To Lord Stanley. 

HUGHENDEN, Aug. 26, '68. You sent me a most amusing 
letter. Do you know, I think you an excellent letter writer; 
terse and picturesque; seizing the chief points, and a sense of 

Reverdy Johnson is here, and gets on very well. The ladies 
like him. He has eleven children, and 33 grandchildren: so 
they call him Grandpapa. He has only one eye, and that a very 
ugly one; and, yet, at a distance, looks something like old Lord 
Lansdowne, after a somewhat serious illness. His manners, 
tho', at first, rather abrupt and harsh, are good; he is self- 
possessed, and turns out genial. 

Stanhope, who is here, seems to delight in him, and thinks 
it a coup de maitre to have asked him here, and that the Alabama 
and all other claims will be settled forthwith. His visit to 
Hughenden is to our joint credit. 

They all like Napier of Magdala very much: he is interesting 
and graceful, and tells even a story but not too long : Chinese 
or Abyssinian. 

Stanley, in his speech in March, had expressed his readi- 
ness to consider a suggestion which Seward, the American 
Secretary of State, had thrown out, of a General Commis- 
sion to which the claims of both countries might be re- 
ferred. On these lines a convention was arranged in the 
autumn with Reverdy Johnson, with a special proviso for 
the reference of the Alabama claims to a neutral Sovereign, 
in case the Commission should not agree. Though the 
i Lord Stanhope. 


American Minister at the Lord Mayor's banquet in Novem- 
ber spoke of the matter as settled, the good work was not 
actually completed when the Government went out of office ; 
but Clarendon, the new Foreign Secretary, took it up and 
brought it to formal signature in January. Internal poli- 
tics in the United States, however, caused the convention 
to miscarry. It had to pass the Senate, then in antagonism 
to President Johnson and his executive ; and the electors in 
the autumn had chosen a new President, who would wish to 
have his hands free when he assumed office in March. 
More also might be hoped from England under a Liberal 
than under a Conservative Administration. All these con- 
siderations determined the Senate to reject the convention; 
and the difficulty was left to be settled in a costly and less 
satisfactory fashion by the Gladstone Government a few 
years later. 

It is natural to search Disraeli's correspondence during 
this period of office, to see how far he realised the catastro- 
phe which was impending over France and over Europe, 
owing to the rapid rise of Prussian power and the jealousy 
with which it was regarded to the west of the Rhine. In 
obedience to his own inclinations and the Queen's com- 
mand, 1 he kept a watchful eye on the situation abroad ; but 
it cannot be maintained that he saw much farther than his 
neighbours. In the August of 1867 the French Emperor 
and Empress had paid a visit to the Emperor of Austria 
at Salzburg, ostensibly to condole with him on the tragic 
fate in Mexico in the previous June of the Emperor Maxi- 
milian, Francis Joseph's kinsman. But the visit also sig- 
nified a certain drawing together of two Powers, of which 
one had been defeated, and the other was threatened, by the 
growing might of Prussia. Disraeli's letters of that date 
show how he viewed the European kaleidoscope. 

To Lord Stanley. 

HUGHENDEN, Sept. 1, 1867. . . . I have heard nothing from 
i See Vol. IV., p. 473. 


the K[othschild]s. I observe, they never write, and only speak, 
indeed, on these matters in a corner, and a whisper. 

To form a judgment of the present state of affairs, one must 
be greatly guided by our knowledge of the personal character 
of the chief actors. 

The Emperor will never act alone; Bismarck wants quiet; and 
Beust, 1 tho' vain, is shrewd and prudent. 

Gortc[hako]ff 2 is the only man, who could, and would, act 
with the Emperor, in order to gain his own ends, on which he 
is much set, but if the Emperor combines with him, he will so 
alarm, and agonise, Austria, that she will throw herself into 
the arms of Prussia, in order that an united Germany may save 
her from the destruction of all her Danubian dreams. 

I think affairs will trail on, at least for a time, and the longer 
the time, the stronger will be your position. In such a balanced 
state of circumstances, you will be master. . . . 

GROSVENOR GATE, Oct. 14, 1867. I thought it wise to recon- 
noitre, and called on our friend 3 yesterday. 

He said the Emperor was no longer master of the position, 
and repeated this rather significantly. 

In time, I extracted from him, that they had information 
from Paris, that there was a secret treaty between Prussia 
and Italy. 

I rather expressed doubts about this, and hinted that it seemed 
inconsistent with what had reached us, that there was an under- 
standing between France and Italy, that the Emperor should 
give notice of his course, etc. 

He was up to all this, and showed, or rather read, me a tele- 
gram, I should think of yesterday, in precisely the same words 
as you expressed, so I inferred the same person had given the 
news to Fane and his correspondent. Probably Nigra 4 himself. 

The information of the secret treaty had arrived subsequently, 
and he stuck to it, and evidently believed it. ... 

The Berlin Ministry have consulted another member of the 
family about ironclads. They are going to expend l 1 /^ mill, 
sterling immediately thereon, and told him they thought of hav- 
ing the order executed in America, as, in case of war with 
France, the ships would not be allowed to depart if they were 
constructed in England. . . . 

In the spring of 1868 one of those pretended reductions 
of Prussian armament, which have occasionally been adver- 

1 Austrian Foreign Minister. 8 Baron Lionel de Rothschild. 

2 Russian Chancellor. * Italian Minister in Paris. 


tised since, was understood to be in progress at Berlin; 
and Disraeli, who should have had enough experience to 
disbelieve, was caught by a story which was rightly treated 
by Stanley as not worth serious attention. 

To Lord Stanley. 

GROSVENOR GATE, April 23, '68. This appears to me important : 
Charles [Rothschild] is virtually Bismarck. 1 

A few days ago, B. was all fury against France, and declared 
that France was resolved on war, etc. : but on Monday the Rs. 
wrote to Berlin, that they understood England was so satisfied 
with Prussia, so convinced, that she really wished peace, etc., 
that England would take no step, at the instance of France, 
which would imply doubt of Prussia, etc. 

This is the answer. I can't help thinking, that you have 
another grand opportunity of securing the peace of Europe 
and establishing your fame. . . . 

Charles Rothschild to Baron Rothschild. 

(Telegram.) BERLIN, April 23, 9.45 a.m. Tell your friend 
that from the 1st of May army reduction here has been decided 
upon, and will be continued on a larger scale if same system 
is adopted elsewhere. Details by post. 

To Lord Stanley. 

10, DOWNING STREET, April 24, '68. Bernstorff never knows 
anything. 2 I am sure there is something on the tapis, and I 
want you to have the credit of it. Vide Reuter's Tels: in 
Times of to-day : ' Berlin, Ap : 23,' rumor on the Bourse, etc. 

What I should do would be to telegraph to Loftus, and bring 
things to a point, and then act. 

1 feel sure it will be done without you, if you don't look 
sharp. You risk nothing, and may gain everything. 

April 25, 4 o'c. I feel persuaded it's all true. They have 
a letter this morning in detail, explaining the telegram, and 
enforcing it. The writer, fresh from Bismarck himself, does 

i ' They see one another daily,' was Stanley's note on the letter. To 
avoid misunderstanding, it should be added that there has not been, 
since 1901, any branch of the house of Rothschild in the German 

2 Stanley had replied that the Ambassador knew nothing of intended 


not speak as if doubt were possible: gives all tbe details of tbe 
military reductions to commence on 1st May, and the larger 
ones, wbicb will be immediately set afoot, if France responds. 
How can you explain all this? What of Loftus? 

From Lord Stanley. 

Private. Sat., 6 p.m. [April 25, 1868]. The telegram con- 
firms your friend's expectations. I spoke to La Tour [d'Au- 
vergne] 1 in anticipation of it, ' Supposing the news were true, 
what would you do ? ' His answer was discouraging. He says 
(and indeed the tel. confirms him in that respect) that Prussian 
reductions mean nothing. ' What security do they give, when it 
is "admitted that the men can be brought back in a week's time, 
if not in 24 hours ? ' I am compelled to own there is some 
force in the reply. Still, with the facts actually before us, we 
may press them a little. 

Throughout the summer and early autumn Disraeli re- 
mained sanguine of success at the polls. Derby, however, 
told him in August that ' Stanley's language as to the re- 
sult of the elections is absolute despondency he hardly 
seems to think the battle worth fighting.' 

To Lord Derby. 

Private. HUGHENDEN, August 23, 1868. ... I heard from 
Stanley 2 to-day, who seems rather jolly, and wonderfully well. 
He makes excursions in the mountains, and takes very long 
walks. He confesses he is e enjoying himself.' He has not 
seen much of his Royal Mistress, but he says that, on Sunday 
last, she was looking very well, and in high good humor does 
not talk much politics, but highly disapproves of the Opposition, 
praises her Ministers, and is very anxious that the elections 
should go right. According to your last, she did not get hold 
of the right man to encourage her on that subject; but the 
fact is Stanley does not know anything about it; he reads news- 
papers and believes in them; and as they are all written by the 
same clique, or coteries almost identical in thought, feeling, 
life and manners, they harp on the same string. It is very 
difficult to say, in this rapid age, what may occur in a General 
Election, which will not now happen for nearly a quarter of a 
year, but I myself should not be surprised if the result might 

1 Of the French Embassy in London. 

2 At Lucerne in attendance on the Queen. 


astonish, yet, the Bob Lowes, Higgins, Delanes, and all that 
class of Pall Mall journal intellect. . . . 

The newspapers, and Stanley, who, like the newspapers, 
had a shrewd instinct for average opinion, saw more clearly 
than the Conservative leader and his advisers what was 
going to happen. The party Committee to whom was en- 
trusted the duty of conducting the elections assured Dis- 
raeli that there was reason to expect that the Conservatives 
would make sufficient gains to give them more than half 
the House of Commons: 266 from England, 51 from Ire- 
land, and 13 from Scotland ; 330 in all out of a House of 
658. With this report before him Disraeli, absorbed in 
the heavy and responsible work of Government, was ap- 
parently content to wait in comparative passivity for the 
country's verdict. He had given the vote to a hitherto un- 
enfranchised million of his fellow-countrymen, belonging 
in the great majority to the working classes ; but so absolutely 
incapable was he of demagogic arts that he neglected, almost 
to a culpable degree, to endeavour to utilise his great legis- 
lative achievement to secure their support for himself and 
his party. The Liberals went up and down the country 
explaining that, though the Conservatives had passed the 
Reform Bill, the thanks of the new voters for the boon were 
really due to Gladstone and Bright; and Gladstone and 
several of his colleagues undertook impassioned electoral 
campaigns in which the new Irish policy of their party was 
eloquently expounded. But Disraeli contented himself 
with issuing an address, undoubtedly of some length and 
elaboration, to the electors of Bucks ; and, as there was no 
contest in his constituency, with one speech on the hustings 
on re-election a speech which was not even delivered till 
after the verdict of the boroughs had been largely given 
against his Ministry. 

The address was drafted early in September, and during 
the remainder of the month was submitted to his principal 
colleagues for criticism and emendation; particularly to 
Cairns, on whose judgment Disraeli had come very thor- 


oughly to rely, and whom he begged ' to give his whole mind 
to the affair, and, if necessary, to rewrite it.' No serious 
alteration was suggested by Cairns or others, and at the be- 
ginning of October the document was issued. In the fore- 
front Disraeli claimed the confidence of the party and the 
country as Derby's political heir, who had pursued his old 
chief's policy ' without deviation.' The settlement of the 
Reform question on broad lines, a foreign policy which es- 
tablished the just influence of England, the successful ex- 
pedition to Abyssinia, and the strengthening of the naval 
arid military forces, were all put forward as grounds for 
support. But, owing to the tactics of the Liberal party, 
Ireland had necessarily to be the main subject of the ad- 
dress. He claimed that Ministers had, by vigilance and 
firmness, baffled the Fenian conspiracy, and had also pur- 
sued a wise policy of sympathy and conciliation. But 
Gladstone had suddenly proposed ' a change of the funda- 
mental laws of the realm ' and ' a dissolution of the union 
between Church and State.' To that policy Ministers had 
offered, and would offer, l an uncompromising resistance. 
The connection of religion with the exercise of political 
authority is one of the main safeguards of the civilisation 
of man.' No doubt the new policy was only to be partially 
applied in the first instance, but the religious integrity of 
the community would be frittered away. Confiscation, 
too, was contagious. Finally the religious security which 
was the result of the royal supremacy would be endangered, 
and Rome alone would profit. 

Amid the discordant activity of many factions there moves 
the supreme purpose of one Power. The philosopher may flatter 
himself he is advancing the cause of enlightened progress; the 
sectarian may be roused to exertion by anticipations of the 
downfall of ecclesiastical systems. These are transient efforts; 
vain and passing aspirations. The ultimate triumph, were our 
Church to fall, would be to that Power which would substitute 
for the authority of our Sovereign the supremacy of a foreign 
Prince; to that Power with whose tradition, learning, discipline, 
and organisation our Church alone has, hitherto, been able to 


cope, and that, too, only when supported by a determined and 
devoted people. 

In this address Disraeli made his main appeal for confi- 
dence to the Protestantism of the nation. There is no doubt 
that, misled by the violent outbreak at the time of the Papal 
aggression, by the suspicions arising out of the Roman mis- 
sionary propaganda in society during the sixties, and by 
the popular dislike of the developments of Ritualism, he 
overrated the electoral strength of a feeling which un- 
doubtedly was widely spread. 

As the election drew near, the signs of Liberal victory 
became more evident, though Disraeli, still sanguine, tried 
to explain them away. Derby, surveying the field now from 
an outside standpoint, anticipated unsatisfactory results gen- 
erally, save in his own county of Lancashire. ' I am afraid/ 
he wrote on October 29, ' that, where it has any operation, 
the minority clause will operate unfavourably for us in al- 
most every instance, and there appears to be a lamentable 
apathy on the part of the Conservatives in abandoning 
seats which might fairly be contested, or even of availing 
ourselves of the rival pretensions of Liberal candidates for 
a single seat.' 

To Montagu Corry. 

Private. 10, DOWNING STREET, Nov. 3, '68. Might not these 
two queries lead to a solution of the difficulty perhaps the 
fallacy of yesterday's speculations on the General Election? 

1 : Was there ever a General Election in which half the seats 
were not uncontested? 

2 : Is it not a fact, that the winning side always, or generally, 
gains %rds. of the contests? 

For illustration, examine Palmerston's two dissolutions : 
China and 1865. And then Peel's in 1834 when he gained 
100 seats: and dissolution of 1841 when he gained 80. 

These are the materials from which an expert might deduce 
instructive results. 

If I could have them before my audience I should be glad. 

Nov. 10. Send me a line of news. Our men seem to be 
running away. . . . 


On the very eve of the dissolution came the celebration 
of Lord Mayor's Day, and Disraeli at the Guildhall banquet 
gaily affected to entertain a confident expectation that he 
would be the Lord Mayor's guest in the following Novem- 
ber, and chaffed the Liberals over their boastful and braggart 
methods of conducting the campaign. 

I think I have read somewhere that it is the custom of 
undisciplined hosts on the eve of a battle to anticipate and 
celebrate their triumph by horrid sounds and hideous yells, 
the sounding of cymbals, the beating of terrible drums, the 
shrieks and screams of barbaric horns. But when the struggle 
comes, and the fight takes place, it is sometimes found that the 
victory is not to them, but to those who are calm and collected : 
the victory is to those who have arms of precision, though they 
may make no noise to those who have the breech-loaders, the 
rocket brigade, and the Armstrong artillery. 

One of the most frequent and most telling weapons which 
the Opposition used in their campaign was the assertion 
that the Government were quite as ready to disestablish 
the Irish Church as they were themselves. ' There is as 
much chance,' wrote Disraeli in the vain hope of silencing 
this slander, ' of the Tory party proposing to disestablish 
the Protestant Church in Ireland as there is of their pro- 
posing to abrogate the Monarchy.' It was a great misfor- 
tune that Disraeli could not bring his colleagues to agree to 
concurrent endowment; but, that being so, Ministers, how- 
ever ready for reform, could hardly for the election take up 
any other position than that of simple resistance to Glad- 
stone's plan of destruction. This was naturally distasteful 
to the reforming section of the Cabinet, and especially to 
Stanley. He pressed his views again on Disraeli in the au- 
tumn, and Disraeli replied, on September 26, from Bal- 
moral : ' I highly appreciate your criticisms, as you well 
know; but I think your views about the Irish Church are 
of a school of thought that has passed. Excuse my pre- 
sumption. I don't think compromise is now practicable/ 
Both Derby and Disraeli feared that Stanley, when he gave, 


according to promise, a full explanation of his views to the 
electors of Lynn, might seriously embarrass the future of the 
Conservative party; and the father, now as on previous 
occasions, relied upon Disraeli to keep the son straight. It 
was an immense relief to both chiefs to find from the next 
morning's paper that the Foreign Secretary had been cau- 
tious and discreet. 

To Lord Stanley. 

10, DOWNING STREET, Nov. 10, '68. I should like to have seen 
you, for a moment, before you departed. I shall have sleepless 
nights, until I have read your Lynn words. 

Pray don't stab me in the back after all the incredible exer- 
tions I am making for the good cause. 

And don't believe newspapers, and newspaper writers, too 
much. The result of the General Election, rest assured, will 
surprise all the students of that literature. 

Nov. 14. Perfect! 

I am told our own party are enthusiastic: but all praise it. 
It must do us great good. 

Stanley's speech was at the opening of the polls. By the 
time that the county returns were beginning, and that 
Disraeli was elected unopposed for Bucks, it was clear that 
Ministers would be defeated ; * and the Prime Minister, in 
marked contrast to Gladstone's bellicose utterances, felt 
himself justified in taking a detached and impartial view 
of the situation on the hustings at Aylesbury. To this 
happy contingency we owe a priceless appreciation of the 
Irish character. 

The Irishman is an imaginative being. He lives on an 
island in a damp climate, and contiguous to the melancholy 
ocean. He has no variety of pursuit. There is no nation in 
the world that leads so monotonous a life as the Irish, because 
their only occupation is the cultivation of the soil before them. 
These men are discontented because tbey are not amused. The 
Irishman in other countries, when he has a fair field for his 
talents in various occupations, is equal, if not superior, to most 
races; and it is not the fault of the Government that there 

1 ' Our shadows seem to grow very long,' Disraeli wrote on the day 
of the election to Northcote. 


is not that variety of occupation in Ireland. I may say with 
frankness that I think it is the fault of the Irish. If they led 
that kind of life which would invite the introduction of capital 
into the country, all this ability might be utilised ; and instead of 
those feelings which they acquire by brooding over the history 
of their country, a great part of which is merely traditionary, 
you would find men acquiring fortunes, and arriving at con- 
clusions on politics entirely different from those which they 
now offer. 1 

Derby, while singing the praises of his own county of 
Lancashire, gave Disraeli a gloomy exposition of the gen- 
eral upshot of the elections. 

From Lord Derby. 

Confidential. KNOWSLEY, Nov. 22, 1868. On looking over the 
returns, which are now nearly completed, I am sorry to see that 
our numbers will not only greatly disappoint your sanguine 
hopes, but will fall considerably below even my more modest 
anticipations. Even taking the most favourable view of the 
elections which are yet to take place, I cannot make out that 
Gladstone's majority will be less, and probably more, than a 
hundred. I am happy to think however that my county at least 
has done its duty. I told you I hoped to secure 18 out of the 
32 seats 2 we have done that already, if, as I have every reason 
to believe, we have carried both seats in the North-East. There 
are four seats remaining, out of which I have every hope of 
carrying three, including this division, in which we shall defeat 
Gladstone by not less than a thousand. We have lost Wigan 
by sheer mismanagement, and Warrington temporarily by ras- 
cality ; the Mayor's poll clerk, who has absconded, having omitted 
50 or 60 of Greenall's supporters, whose votes appear on the 
books of both parties. . . . 

In the midst of our disasters, let me congratulate you, which 
I do very sincerely, on your speech at your nomination. It 
was perfectly suited to the occasion, calm, temperate, and digni- 
fied, and a striking contrast to the balderdash and braggadocio 
in which Gladstone has been indulging on his stumping tour 
and which, I am happy to say, has done him more harm than 
good. The fate of the Government however is, I apprehend, 
decided. . . . 

1 Aylesbury, Nov. 19, 1868. 

2 The final result for Lancashire showed 19 Conservatives to 13 


Household suffrage, on its first experiment, produced 
results which were very unfavourable to its authors. The 
working men accepted the Liberal contention as to the real 
giver of their franchise ; and were seduced by the captivating 
cries of religious equality and justice to Ireland. Accord- 
ingly, the boroughs, save in Lancashire, declared with con- 
siderable unanimity against the Government; but the re- 
duction of the occupation franchise in the counties operated 
favourably to the Conservatives, and enabled them to ap- 
pear in Parliament as a considerable and coherent, if a 
reduced, minority. Unsatisfactory as was the general re- 
sult, which, roughly speaking, doubled the majority of sixty 
which the Liberals had held in the last Parliament, there 
were several individual returns which were calculated, in 
some measure, to console the losers. Gladstone, in spite of 
a campaign of copious oratory, was rejected by the Lancas- 
trian constituency which had come to his rescue after his 
defeat at Oxford ; and he would sit in the new Parliament as 
the junior member for the metropolitan borough of Green- 
wich. Lancashire further gratified the Tory party and the 
house of Stanley by returning Frederick Stanley in the 
place of Lord Hartington; and in two important metro- 
politan constituencies victories were won for the party by 
two men who were to be among the ablest of Disraeli's 
younger colleagues in his last Administration William 
Henry Smith ousted John Stuart Mill from Westminster, 
and Lord George Hamilton, then a young guardsman, came 
in at the top of the poll for Middlesex. If there was con- 
siderable slaughter among Tory lawyers, the failure of Roe- 
buck, Milner-Gibson, H. Austin Bruce, Bernal Osborne, and 
Horsman to name the more conspicuous of the Liberal 
notabilities who fell must have brought some balm to 
Disraeli's spirit. By the operation of the minority clause 
a Conservative was returned also with three Liberals for 
the City of London, and Disraeli's Liberal friend, Baron 
Lionel de Rothschild, whom he had done so much to seat in 
the House, was rejected. 


The country had registered a decisive verdict against 
Ministers. What ought they to do ? According to the old 
precedents, they ought to meet Parliament as if nothing 
had happened, and wait to he defeated either on the elec- 
tion of Speaker or on an amendment to the Address. This 
was the course pursued hy Melbourne's Government in 1841 ; 
but Disraeli had condemned it then as a policy resting on 
constitutional fictions and not on facts, and so causing 
harmful and unnecessary delay. 1 Ministers, now as then, 
had been defeated in Parliament, had thereupon appealed 
from Parliament to the country, and had had at the polls 
their defeat confirmed and emphasised. It was advisable, 
he thought, to acknowledge the fact and resign at once. 
As was his frequent custom in this Government, he first 
talked the matter over with Stanley, who had independently 
come to the same conclusion. Disraeli's two other most im- 
portant colleagues, Hardy and Cairns, agreed; and the 
Queen threw the weight of her influence into the scale. 
Apart from her invariable preference for realities and readi- 
ness to accept political facts even if unpalatable to her, Her 
Majesty was naturally anxious to have the political changes 
completed, so far as possible, before the recurrence of the 
sad anniversary of her loss on December 14. 

While the concurrence of the Queen and of Disraeli's 
principal colleagues made it probable that the assent of the 
Cabinet would be secured for immediate resignation, it was 
certain that the country would be surprised, and it was 
possible that the party might be offended. Accordingly, it 
was necessary, as Disraeli wrote to Derby, to accompany 
resignation ' by some simultaneous act which should reas- 
sure and satisfy the party ' ; ' some proceeding,' as he wrote 
to Hardy, * which leaves no doubt in the minds of our 
friends, in Parliament and the country, of our determina- 
tion to stand by our policy of [ ? on] disestablishment.' 
As Parliament was not sitting, this was difficult. At first 
Disraeli thought of effecting his purpose by an open letter 
i See Vol. II., p. 116. 


to Derby ; but finally decided to send a circular to all Con- 
servative peers and members of Parliament. The Cabinet 
accepted the advice of the Prime Minister, backed by his 
most influential colleagues, in spite of a strong letter from 
Derby in the contrary sense, written to Stanley, and read, 
at the writer's request, both to Disraeli and apparently also 
to the Cabinet. ' It does not alter my opinion,' Disraeli 
told Stanley. l However, the Cabinet will consider and de- 
cide. If you think it expedient to read it, postpone its read- 
ing till we have ascertained the unbiassed sentiments of our 

To Queen Victoria. 

10, DOWNING STREET, Nov. 28, 1868. Mr. Disraeli with his 
humble duty to your Majesty. 

The Cabinet is over, and has arrived at the conclusion he 
wished, though after much criticism, and great apprehension, 
that the Conservative party, not only in Parliament, may be 
offended and alienated. 

Assisted by Lord Stanley, and by the Lord Chancellor, Mr. 
Disraeli successfully combated these fears, and adopted several 
suggestions, which were made, sensible and ingenious, which 
are calculated to prevent their occurrence. . . . 

From General the Hon. Charles Grey. 

WINDSOR CASTLE, Nov. 30, 1868. The Queen commands me 
to return Lord Derby's letter. H.M. is still of opinion that 
you have taken the course which was most honourable and 
straightforward as regards the character of the Govt., and cer- 
tainly best for the public interest. . . . 

To Lord Derby. 

10, DOWNING STREET, Dec. 2, 1868. The Cabinet were unani- 
mous on the subject of resignation, not so much from any senti- 
mental feeling of personal honor, which would not bear discus- 
sion, but from a conviction that the course was more advan- 
tageous to the party. 

I . enclose you a copy of the circular, which I propose to 
forward to every member of the party in both Houses, and which 
will, of course, appear in all the newspapers. 

I tendered my resignation yesterday. 


In the circular Ministers explained that they had not 
modified their opinion that Gladstone's policy of Irish dis- 
establishment and disendowment was ' wrong in principle, 
probably impracticable in application, and if practicable 
would be disastrous in its effects.' But they justified their 
immediate resignation in the following terms : 

Although the General Election has elicited in the decision of 
numerous and vast constituencies an expression of feeling which 
in a remarkable degree has justified their anticipations and 
which in dealing with the question in controversy no wise states- 
man would disregard, it is now clear that the present Adminis- 
tration cannot expect to command the confidence of the newly 
elected House of Commons. Under these circumstances Her 
Majesty's Ministers have felt it due to their own honour and 
to the policy they support not to retain office unnecessarily for 
a single day. They hold it to be more consistent with the 
attitude they have assumed and with the convenience of public 
business at this season, as well as more conducive to the just 
influence of the Conservative party, at once to tender the resigna- 
tion of their offices to Her Majesty rather than wait for the 
assembling of a Parliament in which in the present aspect of 
affairs they are sensible they must be in a minority. 

The precedent thus wisely set has been followed on every 
subsequent occasion when the circumstances have been at all 
similar; by Gladstone after the General Elections of 1874 
and 1886, and by Beaconsfield himself after that of 1880. 
In 1885 and in 1892 Salisbury took a different course on 
the reasonable ground that, though there was probably a 
majority against Ministers, it was not a homogeneous ma- 
jority and might fairly be tested in Parliament; but on 
neither occasion did his Government survive the Address. 
For the moment in 1868 there was some doubt as to the con- 
stitutionality of the proceeding ; but the press and the party 
were in general favourable. 1 Disraeli was able to report to 
Grey, for the Queen's information, on December 4 : ' Mon- 
tagu Corry tells me that he went into the Carlton Club 

i Even Derby changed his mind ; and ' on further consideration of 
all the circumstances/ told Disraeli he was satisfied that the decison 
of the Government was right. 


yesterday, which was crammed and crowded, as it always is 
during a Ministerial crisis, and that there was only one, and 
even enthusiastic, opinion as to the propriety of the course 
which I had taken. This is a great relief to me ; even the 
malignant Times, on second thoughts, finds it wise to ap- 
prove.' Public opinion, on the whole, endorsed Grey's ver- 
dict in a letter to the Queen : ' Nothing more proper or 
manly than [Disraeli's] way of taking defeat.' Many 
Liberal journals paid a similar tribute. ' Mr. Disraeli's 
conduct,' said the Spectator, i although astute, is still manly 
and straightforward. He is a gamester in politics, but hav- 
ing lost the rubber he pays the stakes without a squabble.' 
He knew how to lose like a gentleman. 

When Disraeli quitted office he was just completing his 
sixty-fourth year and his wife had reached the advanced 
age of seventy-six. Considering the size and enthusiasm of 
the Liberal majority, it was most improbable that she at 
any rate would live to share office once more with her 
husband. Was it even worth his while to resume the toil 
of apparently hopeless Opposition ? He had reached the 
goal of his ambition, had become what he told Melbourne 
he meant to be, Prime Minister. Might he not reasonably 
now retire from the active fight, accept the honours to which 
his long service had given him a claim, and settle down to 
enjoy them with his wife in the few years during which he 
might yet keep her with him ? The vision attracted him ; 
but, even if he could bring himself to forgo the joy of battle 
in the Commons, he must have felt the honourable obliga- 
tion, so long as his health permitted, of remaining to re- 
build the party from the ruin into which, according to his 
busy detractors in the ranks, it was his reckless Reform 
policy that had plunged them. If, however, he remained, 
he might. still secure for his wife the honours which she 
would value the more highly as coming through him and on 
his account. In his audience of the Queen after the elec- 
tions he broached the suggestion that Mrs. Disraeli might be 
created a peeress in her own right ; and was encouraged to 


submit his exact proposal in writing to Her Majesty. It 
will be noticed that, in his memorandum, Disraeli treats the 
party which was about to go into opposition as in no mere 
conventional language but in a very real sense ' Her Ma- 
jesty's Opposition/ to be directed not only with a view to 
the promotion of its own principles but with constant re- 
gard to the Queen's comfort, welfare, and advantage. 

To Queen Victoria. 

Nov. 23, 1868. Mr. Disraeli with his humble duty to your 
Majesty. Pursuant to your Majesty's gracious intimation he 
will endeavour to succinctly state what passed in audience with 
reference to the condition of the Conservative party after the 
General Election and his personal relations to it. 

It was to be considered, 1st, whether it was for your Majesty's 
comfort and advantage to keep the party together and, 2ndly, 
whether if kept together it was expedient that Mr. Disraeli should 
continue to attempt the task or leave the effort to younger 
hands. It seemed desirable that the party should be kept to- 
gether because, although not numerically stronger, its moral 
influence appeared to be increased from the remarkably popular 
elements of which the Conservative party was now formed under 
the influence of the new Reform Act. Viewing England only, 
the Conservative party in the House of Commons will represent 
the majority of the population of that country. 

This is a strange and most unforeseen result. It did not 
appear after great deliberation that any person could guide 
this party for your Majesty's comfort and welfare with the 
same advantage as Mr. Disraeli, as no one could be so inti- 
mately acquainted with your Majesty's wishes and objects as 

It had been the original intention of Mr. Disraeli on the 
termination of this Ministry to have closed his political career 
and to have humbly solicited your Majesty to have bestowed upon 
him some mark of your Majesty's favor, not altogether unusual 
under the circumstances. / , 

When the leader or Speaker of the House of Commons has 
been elevated by the Sovereign to the peerage, the rank accorded 
to him hitherto has been that of Viscount. And on this ground, 
that otherwise his inferiors in political position, who had been 
elevated often by his advice while he held either of these great 
posts, would take precedence of him who had been the chief in 
the Commons or who had presided over and controlled the de- 


bates. This was felt so strongly by Lord Russell, that when 
Sir C. Wood was elevated, who tho' an eminent was still a sub- 
ordinate Minister, Lord Russell counselled your Majesty to 
make him a Viscount, 1 otherwise in the House of Lords he 
would have been in an inferior position to Sir B. Hall, 2 Mr. V. 
Smith, 3 and others who in the House of Commons were im- 
measurably his inferiors both in political rank and public repu- 

Mr. Disraeli might say that, at his time of life and with the 
present prospects, it is a dreary career again to lead and form 
an Opposition party: but he does not say so, because in truth, 
if in that post he could really serve your Majesty and your 
Majesty really felt that, it would be a sufficient object and 
excitement in public life, and he should be quite content even if 
he were never Minister again. 

But next to your Majesty there is one to whom he owes every- 
thing, and who has looked forward to this period of their long 
united lives as one of comparative repose and of recognised 
honor. Might Mr. Disraeli therefore, after 31 years of Parlia- 
mentary toil, and after having served your Majesty on more 
than one occasion, if not with prolonged success at least with 
unfaltering devotion, humbly solicit your Majesty to grant those 
honors to his wife which perhaps under ordinary circumstances 
your Majesty would have deigned to bestow on him? 

It would be an entire reward to him, and would give spirit 
and cheerfulness to the remainder of his public life, when he 
should be quite content to be your Majesty's servant if not your 
Majesty's Minister. He would humbly observe that no precedents 
are necessary for such a course, but there are several. 

When his friends on the formation of a new Govt. wished that 
the elder Pitt, who only filled a subordinate office, should not 
leave the House of Commons, his wife was created a peeress 
in her own right as Baroness Chatham. When in very modern 
times indeed in your Majesty's own reign Lord Melbourne 
wished to induce Sir John Campbell to remain in the House of 
Commons, and only as Attorney-General, his wife was created 
Baroness Stratheden. 

Mr. Disraeli is ashamed to trouble your Majesty on such per- 
sonal matters, but he has confidence in your Majesty's gracious 
indulgence and in some condescending sympathy on your 
Majesty's part with the feelings which prompt this letter. 
Mrs. Disraeli has a fortune of her own adequate to any posi- 

1 Halifax. 8 Created Lord Lyveden. 

2 Created Lord Llanover. 


tion in which your Majesty might deign to place her. Might 
her husband then hope that your Majesty would be graciously 
pleased to create her Viscountess Beaconsfield, a town with which 
Mr. Disraeli has been long connected and which is the nearest 
town to his estate in Bucks which is not yet ennobled? 

From Queen Victoria. 

WINDSOR CASTLE, Nov. 24, 1868. The Queen has received Mr. 
Disraeli's letter, and has much pleasure in complying with his 
request that she should confer a peerage on Mrs. Disraeli, as 
a mark of her sense of his services. The Queen thinks that 
Mr. Disraeli, with whom she will part with much regret, can 
render her most useful service even when not in office; and she 
would have been very sorry if he had insisted on retiring from 
public life. 

The Queen can indeed truly sympathise with his devotion 
to Mrs. Disraeli, who in her turn is so deeply attached to him, 
and she hopes they may yet enjoy many years of happiness 

The Queen will gladly confer the title of Viscountess Beacons- 
field on Mrs. Disraeli. 

The Queen cannot conclude without expressing her deep sense 
of Mr. Disraeli's great kindness and consideration towards her, 
not only in what concerned her personally, but in listening to 
her wishes which were however always prompted by the sole 
desire to promote the good of her country. 

To Queen Victoria. 

Nov. 25, 1868. Mr. Disraeli at your Majesty's feet offers to 
your Majesty his deep gratitude for your Majesty's inestimable 
favor and for the terms so gracious and so graceful in which 
your Majesty has deigned to speak of his efforts when working 
under a Sovereign whom it is really a delight to serve. 

Though there was some ill-mannered comment in a por- 
tion of the Radical press, public opinion in general accepted 
Mrs. Disraeli's peerage as a graceful and appropriate recog- 
nition of her husband's eminence and her own devotion. 
Derby wrote : ' Pray let me be among the first to congratu- 
late " Lady Beaconsfield " on her new honour. She will, I 
am sure, receive it as a graceful acknowledgment, on the 
part of the Crown, of your public services, unaccompanied 


by the drawback of removing you from the House in which 
(pace Sir R. Knightley) your presence is indispensable.' 
And Gladstone concluded a formal letter to Disraeli about 
the Speakership with a pleasant reference : 1 1 also beg of 
you to present my best compliments on her coming patent to 
(I suppose I must still say, and never can use the name for 
the last time without regret) Mrs. Disraeli.' By a happy 
thought, or a happy chance, the Secretary of State, who 
signed the warrant for the issue of the patent of the new 
peeress, was an old friend, Stanley. 

To Lord Stanley. 

10, DOWNING STREET, Nov. 27, '68. She was very much pleased 
with your note; and still more, that you were destined to be 
the Secretary of State, who performed the function. 

There seemed a dramatic unity and completeness in the inci- 
dent; bringing her memory back to old days, wanderings over 
Buckinghamshire commons, when, instead of a great statesman, 
you were only a young Under-Secy. 



The concentration of the Liberal party, which had been 
a marked feature of the elections, was reflected in the com- 
position of the new Government. Gladstone was able to 
combine in his Cabinet both Whigs and Radicals, Reform- 
ers and anti-Reformers, Clarendon and Goschen, Bright and 
Lowe. Clarendon went to the Foreign Office as of right; 
Lowe was very infelicitously placed at the Exchequer; 
Granville was of course restored to that leadership of the 
Lords which he had held with general acceptance under 
Palmerston. No sooner was the Ministry constituted than 
the Prime Minister set himself to work out in detail and 
reduce to legislative form his Irish Church policy; with 
such success that he was in a position to introduce his 
measure within a fortnight of the reassembling of Parlia- 
ment in February. 

Meanwhile Disraeli's attention, almost immediately after 
his retirement from office, was claimed by a family loss. 
His youngest brother James, whose health had been failing 
for some time, died very suddenly. He had been for ten 
years a Commissioner of Excise. Disraeli described him 
to Corry as ' a man of vigorous and original mind and great 
taste,' and mentioned that he had left ' a collection of French 
pictures of Louis Quinze period, and bricbracquerie, very 
remarkable ; and of drawings by modern artists of the high- 
est class.' Disraeli inherited a substantial sum, about 
5,000, from his brother; but he did not enjoy the duties 

of executor. 



To Lord Beauchamp. 

GROSVENOR GATE, Dec. 24, '68. I was most distressed at miss- 
ing to write to you by yesterday's post: but the death was so 
sudden, everything so unprepared, everybody away, I finding 
myself executor without having had the slightest hint of such 
an office devolving on me, and having to give orders about 
everything, and things which I least understand, and most dis- 
like that I was really half distracted, and lost the post. 

Amid sorrow, and such sorrow, one ought not to dwell upon 
personal disappointments, but it is a great one to Lady Beacons- 
field and myself, not to pass our Xmas with friends we so 
dearly love, as Lady Beauchamp and her lord. 

To Lord Stanley. 

GROSVENOR GATE, Jan. 11, 1869. Your letter was very wel- 
come, and very interesting, as your letters generally are. Events 
affect the course of time so sensibly, that it came to me like a 
communication from some one I had known in another life, 
perhaps another planet. It seemed such long ages, since we 
used to see each other every day, and communicate almost every 

Here I have remained; and probably shall until the end of the 
month, when we shall re-enter life by going to Burghley. I 
have seen no one, and been nowhere, not even to a club ; I have 
in fact realised perfect solitude : but I have found enough to do, 
and regular hours are the secret of health. . . . 

The General Election of 1868 sent Disraeli back once 
more to that seat facing the box on the Speaker's left, in 
which he had already spent so much of his Parliamentary 
life. He had no doubt as to what must be the immediate 
course of the Opposition. Just before the session was re- 
sumed, he wrote to Stanley, declining an invitation to a 
public dinner in Lancashire, and giving as his reason, ' I 
think on our part there should be, at the present, the utmost 
reserve and quietness.' Even when, in opposition to Pal- 
merston, he commanded a formidable minority not much 
short, in voting strength, of the forces of the Government, 
he often practised tactics of the kind. Now that he was 
facing a Minister who had behind him a large and enthusi- 
astic majority such as Parliament had not seen since the 


fall of Peel, reserve was all the more imperative. Kicking 
against the pricks was neither dignified nor useful. Plenty 
of rope, to vary the metaphor, was what a wise Opposition 
would extend to a Premier of boundless eagerness and ac- 

Accordingly the resistance which Disraeli offered to Glad- 
stone's Irish Church Bill, though strenuous, was not pro- 
longed. Nor was his speech on the second reading a very 
successful effort. Salisbury in retrospect described it as 
much below the orator's usual level; Hardy at the time 
characterised it as ' sparkling and brilliant, but far from 
earnest.' Perhaps the most interesting passage in it was 
one protesting against the confiscation by the State of cor- 
porate property, and especially of Church property, which 
was ' to a certain degree an intellectual tenure ; in a greater 
degree a moral and spiritual tenure. It is the fluctuating 
patrimony of the great body of the people.' The constant 
sense of the anomalous position of the Irish Church rather 
paralysed Disraeli's efforts in its defence ; and in this second 
reading debate the Opposition speaker who roused the en- 
thusiasm which can only be produced by conviction as well 
as eloquence was Gathorne Hardy. 

But no conviction and no eloquence were of any avail 
against a majority returned by the newly created con- 
stituency to deal with this very question, and against a 
Minister who conceived himself to be entrusted with a mis- 
sion to pacify Ireland. The second reading was carried by 
118. Though Disraeli told Archbishop Tait that it was 
' a mechanical majority,' which ' created no enthusiasm,' 
and gave the Archbishop the impression that he hoped to be 
able to set the Liberal party by the ears, he realised that it 
was impossible to resist the Bill with effect in the Com- 
mons. He discouraged blind opposition to every clause in 
Committee, urged his followers to concentrate on a few vital 
amendments, and made no attempt at delay. The Bill, 
therefore, in spite of its complexity, passed easily through 
its various stages with the support of an undiminished ma- 


jority, and on the last day of May was read a third time 
by 114. Disraeli's speech on that occasion, though Hardy 
was again dissatisfied and called it ' wretched/ contains at 
least one passage which was highly prophetic. All who re- 
member what the state of Ireland was at the moment of the 
outbreak of the Great War in August, 1914, will realise that ' 
Disraeli had grasped the essentials of the Irish position, 
which Gladstone and his followers glozed over with opti- 
mistic sentimentalism. ' It is very possible,' he said, ' that 
after a period of great disquietude, doubt, and passion, 
events may occur which may complete that severance of the 
Union [between England and Ireland] which tonight we 
are commencing.' 

What I fear in the policy of the ,right hon. gentleman [Glad- 
stone] is that its tendency is to civil war. I am not surprised 
that hon. gentlemen should for a moment be startled by such 
an expression. Let them think a little. Is it natural and 
probable that the Papal power in Ireland will attempt to attain 
ascendancy and predominance? I say it is natural; and, what 
is more, it ought to do it. Is it natural that the Protestants of 
Ireland should submit without a struggle to such a state of 
things? You know tbey will not; that is settled. Is England 
to interfere? Are we again to conquer Ireland? Are we to 
have a repetition of the direful history which on both sides now 
we wish to forget? Is there to be another Battle of the Boyne, 
another Siege of Derry, another Treaty of Limerick? These 
things are not only possible, but probable. You are commencing 
a policy which will inevitably lead to such results. 

Disraeli looked to the Lords to secure better terms for 
the Irish Church than Gladstone and the Commons were 
disposed to accord. Directly the second reading was car- 
ried he had written to the Archbishop urging him to call a 
meeting at Lambeth of leading peers of various shades of 
opinion, in order that the Upper House, whatever it might 
ultimately decide to do, should not act on party lines or 
under party leaders. * Every day,' he added, ' will make 
us comprehend more clearly what is the real feeling of Eng- 
land. It is on a just appreciation of that that the right 


decision will depend.' The Archbishop, who had already 
at the Queen's instance accepted a mediatory position, was 
only too glad to do what he was asked. * I saw the Arch- 
bishop of Canterbury to-day,' wrote Disraeli to Cairns on 
April 14:, ' a long interview. He is in favour of reading the 
Bill a second time, I think, tho' he does not wish to decide 
on that prematurely; and he accedes to my suggestion of 
summoning a preliminary meeting of peers at Lambeth to 
consult.' There is reason to believe that Disraeli agreed 
with the Archbishop's tactics. But he was in a difficult 
position, as his authority with the Conservative peers was 
very far short of what it ultimately became, and Derby, to 
whom they looked, absolutely refused to attend the Lambeth 
meeting, on the ground that l no consideration on earth ' 
would induce him to enter into any compromise on a measure 
of the kind. The meeting was accordingly a failure, Cairns, 
the leader in the Lords, showing, in view of Derby's atti- 
tude, great reserve, though Salisbury and one or two others 
agreed with the Archbishop. The Conservative peers met 
at the Duke of Marlborough's house, and disregarded the 
hesitations of their leaders. It was resolved to oppose the 
second reading, in spite of the certainty that the rejection 
of the Bill, immediately after a decisive General Election, 
would provoke a constitutional crisis of the first magnitude. 
Happily some of the leaders, acting we may well believe 
with Disraeli's sympathy, were able, in conjunction with the 
Archbishop, to effect by influence behind the scenes what 
they had failed to carry at the party meeting ; so the Bill, 
owing to many abstentions and thirty-six Tory votes in its 
favour, was carried on second reading by the respectable 
majority of thirty-three. 

There followed a series of somewhat drastic amendments 
making ampler pecuniary provision than the Bill allowed for 
the Church about to be disestablished, and inserting the 
principle of concurrent endowment by applying some of the 
surplus to the needs of Roman Catholic priests and Presby- 
terian ministers instead of converting it altogether to secu- 


lar use. Concurrent endowment still, as in the previous 
year, divided the friends of the Church; for Disraeli and 
the majority of his colleagues were in favour, and Cairns 
and some others strongly against. It is unnecessary here 
to describe the game of battledore and shuttlecock which 
was played over these amendments during June and July 
between Lords and Commons, Ministers and ex-Ministers, 
as the whole story has been set out in full in the Life of 
Archbishop Tait, ch. 19, and Lord Morley's Gladstone, 
Book VI., ch. 1, and Disraeli was hardly a protagonist. 
That an arrangement, by which the Church obtained a con- 
siderable slice of what her friends thought to be her right, 
was finally arrived at was due mainly to the tireless efforts 
of the Queen and the Archbishop, maintained in spite of 
Gladstone's unconciliatory attitude, and to the willingness 
of Cairns to assume at the last moment, without possibility 
of due consultation, an onerous responsibility. Disraeli's 
letters to Cairns show that it was the question of concurrent 
endowment which gave him most trouble. 

To Lord Cairns. 

Confidential. GROSVENOR GATE, June 27, 1869. . . . What 
I hear of the state of your House and of the Cabinet alarms 
me; both conditions seem to me rather anarchical. 

Your followers want a meeting, that they should be advised, 
according to custom, as to what amendments they should sup- 
port. But this I apprehend, might be embarrassing to you, from 
your hesitation as to your course respecting the appropriation 
of the surplus. The Government's truly idiotic scheme on that 
head will not hold water. It is universally condemned, while 
the general principle of some concurrent endowment seems to 
gain ground, in both Houses, daily. It is thought that many 
would support a liberal treatment of our own Church, if some- 
thing were simultaneously done for presbyter and priest. 

There can be little doubt I conceive, abstractedly, of the wis- 
dom of such an arrangement. But what alarms me is the possi- 
bility of your being put in the situation of supporting the Gov- 
ernment with a fraction of your followers, and that not the most 
influential, and dividing against the bulk of your friends. 
This would be serious. 


July 12. What I originally apprehended occurred last night, 
and it will be now necessary to arranare our course, with r^ ' 
to ' concurrent endowment ' in the House of Commons. With 
all our late colleagues there favorable to it, except perhaps Hardy, 
this will not be a very easy business, looking to future conse- 
quences as well as present results. . . . 

Concurrent endowment was eventually abandoned. Dis- 
raeli sent his wife early intelligence of Cairns's arrange- 

To Lady Beaconsfield. 

July 22, '69. The Irish Church Bill is settled. Cairns has 
made a compromise with Lord Granville; which saves the honor 
of the Lords, and will satisfy all moderate men. I don't think 
the more decided spirits on either side will like it as much. 

I am obliged to hold my tongue even to my colleagues, as 
Cairns is to announce the terms. They may be known soon 
after this reaches you, but it will be prudent not to send the 
news to anyone. 

Perhaps the Archbishop's comment in his diary best sums 
up the net result : 

We have made the best terms we could, and, thanks to the 
Queen, a collision between the two Houses has been averted; 
but a great occasion has been poorly used, and the Irish Church 
has been greatly injured, without any benefit to the Roman 

The most strenuous opponent of the Irish Church Bill in 
the Lords was the old Tory leader, Derby; it was he who 
made the most stirring speech in the debate on the second 
reading ; and, when the compromise over the Lords' amend- 
ments was announced, he was so angry, Malmesbury tells 
us, that he left the House. 1 It was the final scene of his 
political life, and his natural life lasted only three months 
longer. But, though his strength was failing, he was for 
some weeks without actual illness, and Disraeli's last letter 

i Mr. Alfred Gathorne Hardy, in Cranbrook, Vol. I., p. 271, records 
' on Lord Cairns's authority ' that Lord Derby, though at first startled 
and annoyed, ultimately expressed satisfaction with what was done. 

1869] DEATH OF DERBY 109 

to his old ' chief ' was apparently written without any 
premonition of the approaching end. 

To Lord Derby. 

HUGHENDEN MANOR, Sep. 15, 1869. 

MY DEAR CHIEF, I was delighted at hearing from Knowsley, 
which recalled old times : not that I mean to say I was insensible 
to the charms of your red venison, which I particularly appre- 

We have been here three weeks, and have literally not seen 
a human being, beyond the dwellers on the soil. After the 
session we visited for a few days some of our friends, and 
among other places we found ourselves at Alton Towers. It 
pleased me very much. Though in Staffordshire, it is on the 
Derbyshire border, and combines the character of both counties : 
the scenery is romantic and rich. As for the house, it is the 
only thing I have ever seen that gave me an idea of the castle 
of Barbe Bleu in Madame D'Aulnois's wondrous tale. It is so 
various and fantastic. 

We are now literally stepping into the carriage to pay a visit 
of a couple of days to Bulstrode. The late Duke of Somerset 
bought the park from the Minister Portland, who pulled down 
the mansion where lived Judge Jeffreys, and began building a 
castle, but, being turned out of office, he fancied he was ruined, 
and sold the place. The present Duke of Somerset has built 
a fair and convenient dwelling, in the Tudor style, in the park, 
which is undulating and well-timbered : but I dare say you may 
remember it when you were at Eton. 

Pray make our kindest remembrances to Lady Derby. I shall 
take the liberty of writing to you sometimes, if I have anything 
to say, and you, perhaps, will not entirely forget Your devoted D. 

Early in October the last illness began, and on the 23rd 
the end came. To Disraeli Derby's death was the severance 
of the most momentous political connection of his life, a 
connection which had survived Derby's resignation and his 
own succession to the first place. The long and intimate 
association with one of a social position so much higher, 
and a political reputation so much longer and at first so 
much greater, had tended to habituate Disraeli to the part 
of inspirer of measures and policies for which Derby bore 
the main public responsibility; and there is probably some 


truth in Fraser's assertion that Disraeli's ' fixed idea ' was 
1 that he was to be the mysterious wirepuller ; the voice be- 
hind the throne; unseen, but suspected. That he should 
rise to be the absolute monarch, which he was at last, does 
not seem to have been anticipated by him.' So far as 
Fraser's view is correct, Derby's death was the emancipa- 
tion of Disraeli. 

To Lord Stanley. 

HUGHENDEN, Oct. 25, '69. It is with reluctance, that I in- 
trude on you at this moment, overwhelmed, as you must be, 
with sorrows, cares, and duties; the memory of the past and the 
responsibility of the future. But I cannot refrain from express- 
ing to you the sympathy of friendship. 

As for the great departed, there existed, between him and 
myself, relations wh. have rarely been maintained between two 
human beings; twenty years, and more, of confidential public 
life, tried by as searching incidents as can well test men. I 
remember at this moment, not without solace, that there never 
was any estrangement between us; and that I have to associate 
with his memory no other feelings, than those of respect and 

How well justified was Disraeli's claim, in spite of oc- 
casional misunderstandings, has been shown throughout this 
biography. Lennox wrote to him from Paris : ' I fear you 
will have felt Lord Derby's death much. He was, with all 
his peculiarities, very true to you.' Disraeli, too, for his 
part, was ' very true ' to Derby ; even in the deferential 
manner with which he used, as his secretaries noticed, to 
clinch disputed matters when in office by the phrase, ' Lord 
Derby wishes it.' He paid a worthy tribute to his old chief 
when, as Prime Minister, he unveiled in 1874 the statue of 
the l Rupert of debate ' in Parliament Square ; but he ob- 
served on that occasion a dignified reticence as to their 
personal relations. The qualities which he singled out for 
eulogy were l his fiery eloquence, his haughty courage, the 
rapidity of his intellectual grasp ' ; ( his capacity for labour 
and his mastery of detail, which never were sufficiently ap- 
preciated because the world was astonished by the celerity 


with which he despatched public affairs.' He summed up 
Derby's share in the great transactions of the previous 
years in a noteworthy sentence : ' He abolished slavery, he 
educated Ireland, and he reformed Parliament.' l It was 
not for him to say what history records, that one of Derby's 
claims to the interest of posterity was his intimate associa- 
tion with the career of Benjamin Disraeli. 

Derby's death sensibly affected the evolution of a ques- 
tion which, during the first year and more of opposition, 
caused Disraeli some trouble the leadership of the party 
in the House of Lords. Malmesbury, who had filled the 
post during 1868, was indisposed to continue after the Gen- 
eral Election. In Disraeli's view, Cairns, the ablest man 
on the Conservative front bench in that House, ought to be 
the successor. But so great was the impression that Salis- 
bury's character and abilities had created that, in spite of 
his secession from, and denunciation of, his colleagues over 
the Reform Bill, there was a movement among the peers to 
choose him; and even Cairns sounded him on the subject. 
Disraeli promptly made it clear that he could concur in no 
such arrangement. 

To Lord Cairns. 

Confidential. GROSVENOR GATE, Dec. 14, 1868. Taylor came 
to me yesterday, much perplexed and alarmed about a conversa- 
tion, between Colville and yourself, as to the leading in the 
Lords. I told him I had seen you on the matter, and would see 
you again, if necessary. He thinks, unless we act with some 
decision, we may injure our position. 

The Leader in the Lords must be one who shares my entire 
confidence, and must act in complete concert with myself. I do 
not know whether Lord Salisbury and myself are even on speak- 
ing terms. 

You contemplate making a man leader of a party of which he 
is not even a member. If we show strength in Parliament and 
the country, it is probable, in due time and course, he will join 
us. If we try to force the result, we shall only subject ourselves 
to humiliation. 

i ' Every word of your admirable speech went to my heart, you un- 
derstood my dearest husband so well,' wrote the widowed Lady Derby. 


Parliament will not virtually meet till the middle of February, 
and you ought to meet it aa the leader of the party in the Lords. 

Salisbury himself realised the impropriety of the sug- 
gestion, urged Cairns to accept, and promised him cordial 
and earnest support. Accordingly Cairns, though very 
reluctant owing to his semi-judicial position as ex-Chancellor 
and his recent creation as a peer, consented, and was elected 
unanimously. One session, however but that session an 
exceptionally trying one, owing to the controversy over 
the Irish Church Bill convinced him that his objections 
were sound and should prevail; and he wrote to Disraeli 
on September 27 that he had made up his mind to resign. 
Not only was he anxious to devote considerable time to 
the judicial business of the House of Lords, but he had 
felt in the recent debates that his authority had not been 
duly regarded by the party. ' The more anxious part of 
the labours of the session has been, not the resisting the 
measures of our opponents, but the endeavouring to avoid 
the appearance of disunion among our friends. I have little 
capacity for either operation, but for the later I have abso- 
lutely none.' The state of Lady Cairns' s health, he added, 
had made it necessary for him to pass the entire winter 
abroad, so that in any case there would be a temporary in- 
terruption of his leadership; and he considered this a fit- 
ting opportunity for his permanent withdrawal from it. 

To Lord Cairns. 

Private. HUGHENDEN MANOR, Sep. 29, 1869. The receipt of 
a letter, like yours, ought immediately to be acknowledged. 

At present, I can only say, that I have read it with conster- 
nation. When I recover from its contents, if I ever do, I will 
endeavor to consider the perplexities of our sad situation, now 
so much aggravated, and will communicate with you. 

There was no need to come to any decision in -the early 
months of the recess ; and the death of Derby, by transfer- 
ring Disraeli's friend and political pupil, Stanley, to the 
Lords, seemed to open out a satisfactory solution. But 


the new head of the house of Stanley was slow to move 
and to take risks; and friends and colleagues found it im- 
possible to obtain any definite promise during the autumn. 

To Lord Derby. 

CARLTON CLUB, Nov. 20, 1869. We came up from Strath- 
fieldsaye yesterday, and I found your kind recollection of your 
old comrade. 

Never was a present more opportune ; and I dined off a Knows- 
ley hare yesterday, and breakfasted off a Knowsley pheasant 
this morning: both first-rate. 

I am qprry to hear, that the House of Lords is to meet, so 
far as our friends are concerned, as acephali. It will, of course, 
at first, produce great scandal; but I have witnessed so many 
' breaks-up ' of the party, that I have come to view them as 
Talleyrand did his ' revolutions ' with sanguine indifference. 

To Lord Cairns. 

Private. HUGHENDEN MANOR, Deo. 12, 1869. . . . I saw* 
Stanley when in town, and he is coming to stay here on our 
return from Blenheim, which I suppose will be about the six- 
teenth or so. 

Nothing could be more cordial or more satisfactory, than the 
expression of his relations towards myself, but I could not expect 
any man to walk into a House of Parliament for the first time, 
and at once offer to take the conduct of affairs. Certainly I 
could not expect such a course from a man of the cautious and 
usually reserved habit of the present Lord Derby. 

The arrangement you have decided on, 1 tho' I regret the per- 
sonal inconvenience it may entail, appears to me the most judi- 
cious to be pursued; at once prudent and conciliatory. 

I trust that all will develop satisfactorily, and I count on your 
continued counsel and support. . . . 

To Lord Derby. 

HUGHENDEN MANOR, Dec. 16, 1869. . . . We shall be delighted 
to receive you next Tuesday, the 21st. Although the shortest 
day, it is my birthday, wh : will be a sort of hedge, and I shall 
look out, in consequence, for a bottle of the best Falernian. 

I met Hardy at B[lenheim] and had much gossip about the 

* To come over from Mentone for the meeting of Parliament, hold 
the usual Peers' dinner, and then formally resign. 


H. of Lords with the Duke, hut this and many other things 
will keep. Excuse a frozen hand. 

The choice of a leader in the Lords did not, of course, 
rest with the party chief who sat in the Commons or even 
with the party as a whole, but with the Conservative peers 
themselves; as Disraeli explained to a correspondent who 
suggested a joint meeting of the Conservatives in both 
Houses to make the election. 

To William Johnston of BallyTcilbeg. 

HUGHENDEN MANOR, Dec. 8, 1869. The leader of a party in a 
House of Parliament is never nominated: the selection is al- 
ways the spontaneous act of the party in the House in which 
he sits. It was so in the case of Lord Cairns, who yielded 
most unwillingly to the general wish, Lord Salisbury being one 
of the warmest of his solicitors. It was so in my own case. 
Lord Derby never appointed me to the leadership, but the party 
chose to follow me and the rest ensued. 

The same jealousy of interference with an arrangement in 
which their own feelings and even tastes should pre-eminently 
be consulted would no doubt be felt, if the leadership of a House 
was to be decided by the votes of those who did not sit in it. 

I make no doubt our friends in the House of Lords will in 
due season find their becoming chief; but our interposition will 
not aid them, they will be better helped to a decision by 
events. . . . 

The claims of Salisbury were once more advocated by a 
section, but there was a general feeling that the man best 
able to unite the party would be Derby. Would he accept ? 
Hardy described him in his diary in December as ' not quite 
willing, but showing symptoms of persuadability.' He was 
elected unanimously at the beginning of the session of 1870, 
Salisbury seconding the nomination, which was proposed 
by the Duke of Richmond. He took a day to consider, 
and then declined ; as Hardy in restrospect wrote, ' He 
knew himself better than he was known.' Thereupon 
Carnarvon put forward the impracticable plan that Salis- 
bury should take an independent lead in and for the Lords, 
without holding any confidential communication with the 

1869-1870] SALISBURY'S ATTITUDE 115 

leader in the Commons, who happened also to be the leader 
of the party. The plan was not merely impracticable; it 
would also have been not far short of an insult to Disraeli. 
This absurdity was avoided, and finally Richmond, who had 
joined the Cabinet in 1867 when the three seceded, accepted 
the * uncoveted position,' * being proposed by Salisbury 
and seconded by Derby. Salisbury manifested throughout 
a disposition to resume friendly working relations with his 
old friends except with Disraeli. 

How unchanged was his attitude to Disraeli had been 
shown in an article which he wrote in the Quarterly Review 
in the autumn of 1869, on ' The Past and the Future of 
Conservative Policy.' This renewed attack formed the 
logical sequel of the articles in 1860 and 1867, 2 and like 
them condemned severely the tactics of selecting the Whigs 
for hostility and the Radicals for alliances. In the Reform 
Act the party had committed a * great Parliamentary sui- 
cide.' A lurid picture .was drawn of the degradation and 
danger of office without power, as revealed in past history. 
Though Disraeli's name was never mentioned, it required 
only the most superficial knowledge of politics to under- 
stand that it was he who was portrayed as the ' dishonest 
man,' the ' mere political gamester,' to whom office in a 
minority afforded too tempting a field; that it was his 
' baseness ' and ' perpetual political mendicancy ' that the 
writer was chastising ; that he was the parliamentary leader 
whose conduct was described as worthy of unmitigated con- 

To Sir Anthony de Rothschild. 

HUGHENDEN MANOR, Dec. 30, 1869. A battalion of pheasants, 
and some hares, arrived here yesterday, without any label, but 
the porter said, that, tho' it had been lost, there was no doubt 
that the game was for Hughenden and that it had come from 

No one in that direction cd. be so magnificent except yourself. 
You not only send many pheasants, but you send pheasants worth 

1 See Gathorne Hardy, Vol. I., pp. 294, 295. 

2 See Vol. IV., pp. 285-293, 556, 557. 


eating; nothing could be finer than those wh. preceded the last 

There is no middle state in this bird. A pheasant is ' aut 
Caesar, aut nihiU . . . 

To Lord Derby. 

GROSVENOB GATE, Feb. 1, 1870. Will you come and dine at a 
large House of Commons dinner forty here on Wednesday 
the 16th? 

And if you will, wh. will please them much, shall I ask some 
swells to meet you, K.G.'s and that sort of thing or would you 
prefer being the sole swell, like a big boy to the old school for a 
day? I think that would be more characteristic, but just as 
you please. 1 

The disestablishment of the Irish Church did less than 
nothing for the moment to promote that pacification of 
Ireland towards which it was to be the first step ; a tempest 
of sedition and crime swept in 1869 over the island which 
Abercorn and Mayo, the Tory Viceroy and Chief Secretary, 
had brought into comparative order. Gladstone, though he 
admitted, in the language of the Queen's Speech of 1870, 
that ' the recent extension of agrarian crime in several 
parts of Ireland ' had caused the Government ' painful con- 
cern/ held it to be all the more imperative to proceed with 
his second Irish measure, a Land Bill ; and Disraeli, in his 
speech on the Address, promised a candid consideration for 
Ministerial proposals, though he pointed out that the tenure 
of land in Ireland was an old grievance, and could not 
possibly be the immediate cause of the present disorder. 
That disorder he attributed mainly to the extravagant hopes 
which the policy of the Government and the language of 
their supporters had encouraged. The Irish people rea- 
soned : ' Is it not a natural consequence that if you settle 
the question of the Irish Church by depriving the bishops 
and rectors of their property, you will settle the question 
of the land by depriving the landlords of their property ? ' 

i Derby accepted the second alternative ; but the dinner had to be 
abandoned, as Disraeli, when the time came, was confined to his room 
by illness. 


Disraeli called attention to a recent election for Tipperary 
in which the Government candidate, who had been Law 
Adviser at Dublin Castle, pledged himself to an extreme 
policy, and yet was beaten by a convicted Fenian, O'Donovan 
Rossa. ' The people of Ireland had to choose between a 
sham Fenian and a real Fenian, and it is astonishing what 
a preference is always given to the genuine article.' Then 
the Government, long so tolerant of disorder, at last took 

Horrible scenes of violence had been occurring in Ireland, 
but the Government would never move. Landlords were shot 
down like game, respectable farmers were beaten to death with 
sticks by masked men; bailiffs were shot in the back; policemen 
were stabbed; the High Sheriff of a county going to swear in 
the grand jury was fired at in his carriage and dangerously 
wounded; households were blown up, and firearms surreptitiously 
obtained. All this time the Government would not move; but 
the moment the Government candidate was defeated at the 
hustings a Government candidate pledged to confiscation, 
pledged to a course of action which would destroy all civil 
government the moment that occurred there was panic in the 
Castle, there was confusion in the Council; the wires of Alder- 
shot were agitated; troops were put in motion, sent across from 
Liverpool to Dublin, and concentrated in Waterford, Tipperary, 
and Cork. ... I remember one of Her Majesty's Ministers 
[Bright] saying, I think last year, ' Anyone can govern Ireland 
with troops and artillery.' So it seems; even that right hon- 
ourable gentleman. 

The speech appears to have been generally admired. 
Malmesbury wrote to Cairns : l Lady Tankerville says that 
at the opening of the session Bright had become dizzy, and 
Dizzy had become bright.' 

To Sir Joseph Napier. 

Confidential. GROSVENOR GATE, Feb. 21, 1870. It is eighteen 
years since you and I first conferred together about an Irish 
Land Bill. It was a great thing then for me to have such an 
adviser, and it would have been a wise thing if our friends had 
adopted the result of our labors. 

Now I am in a very different situation. Not a single Irish 


lawyer in the H. of Commons, at least on our benches, except 
Ball, who is of course in the diocese of Armagh; even Cairns 
has departed for Mentone. On the 7th I have to express my 
views on the Government Bill. What a situation for the leader 
of a party ; as Bright says, ' still a great party ! ' 

Under these circumstances I write to you, my old confederate. 
Can you find time from your ecumenical council to give me the 
results of your reflections on the Government scheme, and such 
materials as may be opportune and profitable to me? 

I don't even know whether the Ulster right can be enforced 
in court of law, and there is nobody here to tell me! I must 
therefore summon ' Napier to the rescue.' 

Gladstone's Bill was directed to the security of the Irish 
tenant, who, contrary to the usual practice in England, had 
generally received his land in a prairie condition from the 
landlord, and had done all the draining, reclaiming, fencing, 
farm-building, and other improvement himself. By custom 
in Ulster and in some other parts of Ireland, so long as 
the tenant paid his rent he could not be evicted; and on 
giving up his farm he could claim compensation for un- 
exhausted improvements and sell the goodwill for what it 
would fetch in the market. Where no custom prevailed, 
the landlord was at liberty to raise the rent in proportion 
as the tenant improved the land, and to evict him at will 
without compensation. Roughly speaking, Gladstone's Bill 
turned the Ulster custom into law and extended it through- 
out Ireland, thus giving the Irish tenant an estate in the 
land he f armect So far as the measure provided for com- 
pensation, and retrospective compensation, to the tenant, 
Disraeli was heartily in its favour, as this was one main 
principle of the Bills which Napier prepared under his 
auspices in 1852 ; and he therefore announced on the second 
reading that some legislation was necessary and that he 
should support the Bill in principle. But he had his doubts 
about the wisdom of turning custom into law. 

The moment you legalise a custom you fix its particular char- 
acter ; but the value of a custom is its flexibility, and that it adapts 
itself to all the circumstances of the moment and of the locality. 


All these qualities are lost the moment you crystallise a custom 
into legislation. Customs may not be as wise as laws, but they 
are always more popular. They array upon their side alike the 
convictions and the prejudices of men. They are spontaneous. 
They grow out of man's necessities and invention; and, as 
circumstances change and alter and die off, the custom falls 
into desuetude and we get rid of it. But if you make it into 
law, circumstances alter, but the law remains, and becomes part 
of fhat obsolete legislation which haunts our statute-book and 
harasses society. 

Disraeli deplored the interference with freedom of con- 
tract effected by the Bill; but Gladstone asked with some 
force whether Disraeli would allow the tenant to contract 
himself out of its benefits. By far Disraeli's shrewdest and 
most incisive criticism was that the Bill terminated * at 
one fell swoop all moral relations between the owner and 
occupier/ and endeavoured to establish a purely commercial 
relation between them. Yet, if ever there was a state of 
society where the relations should be paternal, where for- 
bearance should be shown to the tenant who from vicissitudes 
of seasons is in arrear with his rent, it was Ireland, where 
there were farmers holding only one acre. Hitherto small 
tenants had not appealed in vain * to the distinguished facil- 
ity and good nature of the Irish landlord.' But why should 
forbearance be shown when the tenant in arrear is a co- 
partner, in getting rid of whom the landlord has a direct 
interest, and when the payment of rent is the only bond? 
Disraeli developed this point in Committee, when he re- 
duced the majority of the Government to seventy-six on an 
amendment limiting compensation to unexhausted improve- 
ments. The landlord would say to the tenant in future, 
argued Disraeli, * We must both stand upon our rights. 
This new-fangled law, which has given you a contingent 
remainder to the third of my freehold, has at least given 
me this security, that if you do not pay me your rent I may 
get rid of you.' Evictions would naturally follow; there 
would be a new grievance, the payment of rent; and the 
non-payment of rent would become a principle asserted by 


the same rural logic which had produced the crimes and 
horrors of the past year. There would be great complaints 
of vexatious and tyrannical evictions, and the occupiers 
would assert their supposed rights by the most violent 
means. ' So far from the improvement of the country 
terminating all these misunderstandings and heartburnings, 
which we seem now so anxious on both sides of the House to 
bring to a close, you will have the same controversies still 
raging, only with increased acerbity, and under circum- 
stances and conditions which must inevitably lead to in- 
creased bitterness and increased perils to society.' 

It was a speech of extraordinary prescience, predicting 
with exactness the course which the agrarian movement 
followed in Ireland during the next ten or fifteen years. 
In painful contrast was Gladstone's optimistic reply, in- 
sisting that the measure was an exceptional one to meet a 
temporary need, and expressing the hope that the time 
would come when it would be no longer necessary and free- 
dom of contract would be restored. Though he anticipated 
the failure of Gladstone's scheme, Disraeli did not realise, 
any more than Gladstone, that the creation by the aid of 
the State of a peasant proprietary was, as Bright with real 
vision maintained, and subsequent history has shown, the 
true remedy for agrarian discontent in Ireland. To placate 
Bright, Gladstone did indeed frame some inadequate clauses 
with this object, but he laid no stress on them, and Disraeli 
even singled out these clauses for disapproval. However, 
having recognised the necessity of legislation, Disraeli dis- 
couraged divisions on both second and third readings ; and, 
the Opposition in the Lords following the example of the 
Commons, the experiment which Gladstone sanguinely advo- 
cated was duly tried and proved so inadequate that in 
ten years its author had, with unabated optimism, to set his 
hand once more to the same task. 

The other great measure of the session, the one whose 
passage was perhaps the foremost distinction of Gladstone's 
Ministry, Forster's Education Bill, was actively assisted 


by the Conservative party, under Disraeli's direction. He 
had claimed at Edinburgh, in the autumn of 1867, that 
from his entry into public life he had done his best to 
promote the cause of popular education. He had given 
it a prominent place in his address when first elected for 
Bucks in 1847; one of the outstanding features of his 
scheme for administrative reform in 1855 was the consti- 
tution of education as a separate Ministry with a Secretary 
of State as its head; the Derby-Disraeli Government of 
1858 appointed the Newcastle Commission on the subject; 
and, while the last Palmerston Government had persistently 
neglected to take any steps in consequence of the Commis- 
sion's Report, save to enforce the very questionable recom- 
mendation of payment by results, Disraeli's first Ministry 
in 1868 prepared and submitted, through the Duke of 
Marlborough, to the House of Lords, a comprehensive 
scheme which, at least in the importance attached to the 
Education Department, was even in advance of Forster's 
measure. But Forster introduced the principle of a local 
rate which Disraeli's Ministry had shirked, and his scheme, 
while increasing the Government grants to denominational 
schools, mainly belonging to the Church of England, already 
in existence, provided for supplementing their deficiencies 
by the creation of school boards all over the country, which 
should establish and conduct rate-aided schools, so that 
elementary education should be ultimately provided for 
every English child. The great difficulty, then as sub- 
sequently, proved to be the religious teaching. The gen- 
eral sense of the House and of the country was that the Bible 
should be read and that there should be religious education 
in all schools, guarded by a conscience clause; but the 
Radicals and the bulk of the Dissenters pressed for an en- 
tirely secular system. This the Government could not 
concede; but they ultimately accepted a compromise, pro- 
posed by Cowper Temple, a Whig, providing that, while the 
Bible should be read and explained, no catechism or other 
distinctive formulary should be taught in a board school. 


Disraeli immediately fastened on the weakness of this ar- 
rangement. The schoolmaster could not, he pointed out, 
teach, enforce, and explain the Bible without drawing some 
conclusions, and what could those be but dogmas ? ' You 
will not entrust the priest or the presbyter,' he said, l with 
the privilege of expounding the Holy Scripture to the 
scholars ; but for that purpose you are inventing and estab- 
lishing a new sacerdotal class. The schoolmaster who will 
exercise these functions . . . will in the future exercise 
an extraordinary influence upon the history of England and 
upon the conduct of Englishmen.' In a speech in the 
autumn at a Bucks diocesan meeting he described the new 
Act, though it was a step in advance, as but a measure of 
transition, with which the English people would not be 
satisfied in the long run. They would require richer and 
more various elementary education, and, when they obtained 
that, they would require a religious education, because as 
their intelligence expanded and was cultivated they would 
require information as to the most interesting of all knowl- 
edge the relations which exist between God and man. 
The various subsequent modifications in our education 
policy, culminating in the Act of 1902, and in Mr. Fisher's 
Bill of the current year (1918), testify to Disraeli's fore- 
sight. With one immediate result of Forster's policy he 
must have been well content the opening of a rift between 
the Gladstone Ministry and its erstwhile devoted supporters, 
the political Dissenters. He was careful to avoid incon- 
siderate attacks which might draw his opponents together. 
Not merely the policy of reserve which he had deliberately 
adopted, but ill-health of a continued character greatly re- 
stricted Disraeli's activities during the session ; and on sev- 
eral occasions he had to rely upon Hardy, his ' sword-arm,' 
to take his place. Writing to Lennox in July he said : ( I 
have been unwell all this year, and am afraid I have thought 
too much of myself. Illness makes one selfish and disgusts 
one's friends.' A letter to Northcote, who had gone to 

1870] ILL-HEALTH 123 

Canada, as Chairman of the Hudson Bay Company, in con- 
nection with disputes between the company and the Canadian 
Government, gives a picture of the work of the session up 
to May. 

To Sir Stafford Northcote. 

GROSVENOR GATE, May 14, 1870.. . . The Land Bill after 
Easter moved ; and then, like a ship on the stocks, moved rapidly. 
T think the Lords will certainly have it before Whitsun. It has 
been greatly modified in Committee much by the Govt. yield- 
ing to Roundell Palmer and Co.; and much by our friend Ball, 
who has shown as much resource and knowledge as on the 
Irish Church Bill, and with a happier result We must be 
cautious in not over-altering it in the Lords. 

There is a hitch about the Education Bill. Gladstone, I ap- 
prehend, is prepared to secularise, if he were only convinced he 
could keep his majority together by that process. But the ele- 
ments of the calculation are various and discordant, and every 
possible result, therefore, doubtful. 

The Ballot bothers me. Cross and the Lancashire men are 
all in favor of it, and say that at this moment we should carry 
every great town in the North, were it adopted. But I apprehend 
the great body of our friends would not like to see it applied 
to counties; and then there are Ireland and Scotland and Wales 
also to be remembered. We are going to have a council in a 
day or two; the leading members of both Houses, and some 
representative men. I miss you sadly on these occasions, and 
indeed always. 

The great social event is Derby's approaching marriage. He 
is radiant with happiness. Literally you would not know him. 

I can't say much for myself. I have been to the seaside; but 
it has brought me no relief, and I still suffer, which is dis- 
heartening. . . . 

Derby was about to marry Salisbury's stepmother, who 
had long been a friend of Disraeli's, and had frequently 
entertained him at Hatfield during the last twenty years. 
To his sister he described her in 1851 as ' an admirable 
hostess and a very pleasing woman ; great simplicity, quite a 
Sackville.' l 

i See Vol. III., p. 336. 


To Lord Derby. 

GROSVENOB GATE, May 7, 1870. Next to yourself, by what 
you tell me, no man, perhaps, will be happier, than I am. Under 
this roof, we have long, and fondly, wished, that this shd. happen. 
The lady I have ever loved; and if fine intelligence, a thought- 
ful mind, the sweetest temper in the world, and many charms, 
can make a man happy, your felicity is secured. 

Marriage is the happiest state in the world, when there is, 
on each side, a complete knowledge of the characters united. 
That you have secured and to all the many blessings wh. 
distinguish you in life, rank, wealth, and, above all, great 
abilities, you have had the wisdom to add the only element, wh. 
was wanting to complete the spell. 

Lady Beaconsfield sends you her congratulations thro' her 
tears of joy. 

To Gathorne Hardy. 

GROSVENOR GATE, May 22, '70. I am sorry very to say, 
that you must not count on me to-morrow to support and assist 
you in the debate on University Tests, as was my hope, and firm 
intention. My medicos declare that I must not attempt any- 
thing like public speaking at present, and refrain, indeed, as 
much as possible, from private. 

Tho' I hope I shall get it all straight, my right lung is seri- 
ously affected, and it is no use any longer to tamper with it. 
Remedies, and quiet, and this hot weather, may put all to rights, 
and in a short time, but I must try them. 

It pains me to leave a faithful colleague to struggle alone 
with a difficult question but you will do all that man can do, 
which is my consolation, tho' not a sufficient one. 

Hardy's own account of Disraeli's health and views is 
given in his diary for May 22 : l Called on Disraeli, who 
remains poorly and dreads the east wind. He is despond- 
ing, but looks forward to Gladstone becoming useless to the 
Radicals, and a disruption. Gives two years or more.' 

To Lord Stanhope. 

GROSVENOR GATE, July 17, '70. . . . I quite agree with you 
about the division in the House of Lords : * avowedly to regulate 

i On a motion by Salisbury, the recently elected Chancellor of the 
University of Oxford, which defeated the second reading of the Uni- 
versity Tests Bill. 

From a portrait after J. Sivinton, at Hughendtn. 


that assembly by the prejudices, or convictions, of the University 
of Oxford, cannot be wise. Some think, however, that the great 
event of the last eight and forty hours may bring about a state 
of affairs more suitable to a policy of resistance, tho' that was 
not contemplated by the instigator in the present instance. 

I dined at York House, Twickenham, yesterday: a curious 
and interesting moment to be a guest there. It was not won- 
derful, that my host x should be somewhat excited. It is an 
important break in the existence of himself and his brother 
colonists. One of the guests, however, did not think so; and 
said they were forgotten, and had done nothing to make them- 
selves remembered. We shall see! They may be wanted. No- 
body is forgotten, when it is convenient to remember him. 

' The great event of the last eight and forty hours ' was 
indeed calculated to alter men's views and affect their poli- 
cies. The relations of France and Prussia had caused the 
statesmen of Europe, and Disraeli among them, grave anxi- 
ety ever since 1866 ; and when he wrote this letter to Stan- 
hope a sudden dispute between the two countries over the 
offer of the Spanish throne, to a Hohenzollern prince had, 
in spite of the prince's withdrawal, been aggravated, by 
Bismarck's unscrupulous manipulation and Napoleon's 
fatal folly, into a quarrel which only the sword could de- 
cide. A despatch from Ems, describing the diplomatic 
proceedings between Benedetti, the French Minister, and 
the King of Prussia, had been so dexterously edited by 
Bismarck as to prove, as he hoped and expected, a red rag 
to the Gallic bull. French mobilisation had been ordered ; 
the Parisians were shouting ' To Berlin ' ; a declaration 
of war was inevitable within a few days. Bismarck's share 
in provoking the explosion was not then known ; and Disraeli 
was at one with public opinion in England in casting all the 
blame on Napoleon's ambition and French recklessness. 
Moreover, in expressing the view that a Sovereign who 
trusted to melodramatic catastrophes, such as military sur- 
prises and the capture of capitals, would have to meet ' a 
more powerful force than any military array,' namely, ' the 

i The Comte de Paris. 


outraged opinion of an enlightened world/ he showed that 
he was not himself entirely emancipated from the senti- 
mental optimism about international relations which was 
rampant among his political opponents. 

For a quarter of a century Disraeli had preached that 
a good understanding with France should be the basis of 
British foreign policy; and when in office, both in 1852 
and in 1858-1859, had acted throughout in the spirit of 
that creed. It was not without great reluctance, and only 
after mature consideration and the experience of Napo- 
leon's ambition and instability gained during his two years 
and a half of office in 1866-1868, that, like Palmerston in 
ihis latter days, he abandoned the theory as no longer prac- 
. ticable ; and, in spite of a profound distrust of Bismarck's 
policy, began to incline rather to the Court view that the 
more natural affinity of Great Britain was with the Ger- 
mans, who had often been our allies and never our enemies. 
The behaviour of the French Government and people in 
July, 1870, confirmed him in his new faith; and so too did 
the calculated revelation, by Bismarck, at this critical mo- 
ment, of the overtures made to (and perhaps perfidiously 
provoked by) him, in 1866 and subsequently, to abet a 
French conquest of Belgium in return for compensations 
to Prussia in South Germany. 

But, though Disraeli considered that the orientation of 
our European policy must be changed, he was as determined 
as the Government that Great Britain must preserve a strict 
neutrality in the war. Only he insisted, in a speech on 
August 1, that it must be an armed neutrality, a neutrality 
which on the right occasion might speak with authority 
to the belligerents. In such a neutrality he hoped we might 
be able to secure the co-Operation of Russia. But, he asked, 
were our armaments in a condition to enable us to adopt 
this policy? This, though he omitted to claim the credit, 
was a question he had every right to put, as the additions 
to the navy and army estimates which his own Government 
had wisely sanctioned were fiercely denounced by the Lib- 


erals during the General Election of 1868; and the Glad- 
stone Ministry, in spite of the unstable European equili- 
brium, had boasted of the economies and reductions they 
had effected during their two years of office. Disraeli had 
made careful inquiries, as the Beaconsfield correspondence 
shows, into the actual condition of our armed forces, and 
warned the Government that there were defects urgently 
requiring to be supplied. Let them remember the humilia- 
tion the country suffered at the time of the Crimean War, 
because of the failure of the Aberdeen Government to come 
to a decision in time. Let them speak to foreign Powers 
with that clearness and firmness which could only arise from 
a due conception of their duties and a determination to ful- 
fil them. 

In this speech Disraeli dwelt upon the vital importance 
of securing the neutrality and independence of Belgium, 
guaranteed by the Treaty of 1839. Here he was forcing 
an open door, as Ministers, moved by Bismarck's revelation, 
negotiated a fresh treaty with France and Prussia, by which, 
in the event of the violation of Belgian neutrality by either 
of the belligerent Powers, England bound herself to co- 
operate with the other to ensure its observance. This satis- 
fied public opinion both in England and in Belgium; and, 
though Disraeli expressed a doubt whether a fresh treaty 
was required and whether a notice of England's firm de- 
termination to uphold the Treaty of 1839 would not have 
been sufficient, he accepted the resolve to maintain the in- 
dependence of Belgium as a wise and spirited policy. ' It 
is of the highest importance to this country that the whole 
coast from Ostend to the North Sea should be in the posses- 
sion of flourishing communities, from whose ambition, lib- 
erty, or independence neither England nor any other coun- 
try can be menaced.' 

From Disraeli's correspondence of the autumn we can 
obtain glimpses into his feelings as to the rapid and startling 
German victories ; the announcement of the impending mar- 
riage of a daughter of the Sovereign to a subject, Lord 


Lome ; and the progress of Conservatism among the elector- 

To Lord Derby. 

GROSVENOR GATE, Aug. 17, 1870. I am here, the focus of all 
intelligence, and where we get news sooner, than at Berlin or 

I do not much believe in the great battle, wh. they say is 
going on. The French are in full retreat on their whole line, 
and the Prussians, as is usual under such circumstances, are 
following them up and harassing them. Being strong in 
cavalry, the Germans have an additional advantage. 

This collapse of France has all come from the Emperor's 
policy of nationality. That has created Italy and Germany; 
wh. has destroyed the French monopoly of Continental com- 
pactness. The Emperor started this hare in order that he might 
ultimately get Belgium. Belgium is safe and France is 
smashed! . . . 

England is busy at mediation, but Prussia thinks the Gauls 
are not yet sufficiently humiliated. Russia jealous of Prussia, 
yet hating France England strong in words, but a mediation 
of phrases won't do. 

P.S. I never was better: quite, quite myself. 

To Lord Cairns. 

Oct. 9, 1870. . . . I have entirely cured mine [gout] by giv- 
ing up sugar, burgundy, and champagne almost as great a 
surrender as Sedan! 

To Montagu Corry. 

HUGHENDEN, Oct. 9, '70. We go to-morrow to Lord Bathurst's, 
and I expect to be in town on Friday night and on the follow- 
ing Monday to Knowsley. We have refused almost every invi- 
tation this year, and particularly those at a distance; but found 
it impossible to say no to Lord and Lady Derby: the first 
gathering of their friends. I look forward to the journey with 
fear and trembling: having scarcely ever left this delicious place 
in this delicious weather. . . . 

To Queen Victoria. 

[Oct. 1870,] Mr. Disraeli with his humble duty thanks your 
Majesty for your gracious kindness in communicating to him 


through Lady Ely the very happy news of the approaching 
marriage of the Princess Louise. 

The engaging demeanor of Her Royal Highness, her beauty, 
her sensibility and refined taste had always interested him in 
her career and made him desirous that her lot should not be 
unworthy of a nature so full of sweetness and promise. 

What is about to happen seems to him as wise as it is roman- 
tic. Your Majesty has decided with deep discrimination that 
the time was ripe for terminating an etiquette which has become 
sterile, and the change will be effected under every circum- 
stance that can command the sympathy of the country. 

Mr. Disraeli has the pleasure of knowing Lord Lome. The 
gentleness of his disposition and the goodness of his temper 
are impressed upon his countenance, which, while it is bright 
with cultivated intelligence, could not, he feels sure, express 
an evil passion. 

Knowing the depths of your Majesty's domestic affection, 
which the cares of State and the splendor of existence have 
never for a moment diminished or disturbed, Mr. Disraeli feels 
that he will be pardoned if he presumes to offer your Majesty 
his sincere congratulations on an event which will consolidate 
the happiness of your hearth. 

There is no greater risk perhaps than matrimony, but there 
is nothing happier than a happy marriage. 

Though your Majesty must at first inevitably feel the absence 
of the Princess from the accustomed scene, the pang will soften 
under the recollection that she is near you and by the spell of 
frequent intercourse. You will miss her, Madam, only like 
the stars : that return in their constant season and with all their 

Lady Beaconsfield thanks your Majesty for your Majesty's 
gracious enquiries after her. She is, I am happy to say, quite 
well and singularly interested in the subject of your Majesty's 

To Lord John Manners. 

HUGHENDEN MANOR, Oct. 30, 1870. . . . France can neither 
make peace or war. No country in modern times has been 
placed in such a predicament, nor she herself at any time except 
under Charles the 7th, whose reign she is fast reproducing. 
She has no men now, as then. Will she have a maiden ? l 

I am glad to hear of your working-man's meeting. My 
!hope in them hourly increases. How well for the country that 

i The reference is, of course, to Joan of Arc. 


we settled the suffrage question! The trading agitators have 
nothing to say, or, if they open their mouths, are obliged to 
have recourse to European Jacobinism. . . . 

The Franco-German War had two by-products, both dis- 
tasteful to Disraeli. The Italian Government seized the 
opportunity offered by the withdrawal of the French gar- 
rison and the serious plight of the French armies to enter 
and occupy Rome, the last remnant of the Papal States, 
and to restrict the Pope's temporal jurisdiction to St. 
Peter's and the Vatican. Disraeli regretted the abasement 
of anything that represented, as the Pope did, the spiritual 
order ; but Protestant and Italophil England rejoiced. The 
country, however, was as disturbed as was Disraeli when 
Russia instead of combining, as he had hoped, with Great 
Britain in a watchful and armed neutrality to impose peace 
at a suitable moment on the belligerents took advantage 
of France's critical position and of Britain's comparative 
helplessness to notify the European Powers, that she would 
no longer hold herself bound by the Black Sea neutralisa- 
tion clauses of that Treaty of Paris, which France and 
Britain, as victorious allies in the Crimean War, had forced 
her to accept. Granville, who on Clarendon's death in 
the summer had succeeded him as Foreign Secretary, 
strongly protested; and the Government, by allowing their 
agent to threaten a war with Russia which the Prime Min- 
ister never seriously contemplated, obtained Bismarck's aid 
in getting Russia to submit her claim to a Conference of 
the Powers in London, with the understanding that the 
modifications she desired would receive European assent. 

To Lord Derby. 

HUGHENDEN MANOR, Nov. 27, 1870. . . . The Govt. appear 
to be in trouble, and probably will continue to be so. What- 
[eve]r their ultimate decision, these matters take time. But, 
no doubt, how [eve] r they may act, their embarrassment must be 
great, for they can hardly avoid proposing increased armaments. 

Gladstone wished a paragraph to be inserted in The Times 
intimating, in dark and involved sentences, that he was not 


the writer, only the inspirer, of the Edin. Rev. Art. that is 
to say, I suppose, dictated it to Mr. W. H. Gladstone or, perhaps, 
to dr. Catherine herself but Delane refused his columns to 
the communique and suggested a distinct letter from the Premier 
himself, wh. never came. 1 

Dorothy Nevill says that Lowe impressed on her to preach 
the only gospel, ' Peace at any price,' and that she goes about 
society preaching accordingly. 

Lome, who has been here for a couple of days, is for cross 
benches in the House of Commons : significant. . . . 

To the Hon. Algernon Egerton. 

[ Wee. 27, 1870.] I am honored by the wish of my Lancashire 
friends that I should pay them a visit and very proud of it. 
But in the present critical state of public affairs I doubt the 
expediency of political gatherings. 

I regret that Her Majesty's Ministers did not feel it con- 
sistent with their duty to advise the summoning of Parliament 
before Christmas, but that meeting cannot now be long delayed 
and our position will then be ascertained from authority, and 
we shall be better enabled to consider our prospects. Unques- 
tionably they are serious, and I fear not likely to diminish 
in gravity : but the people of Lancashire will be more qualified 
to form an opinion upon them after the Speech from the Throne ; 
and if at a fitting season in the course of next year they con- 
tinue to care to hear my views of the condition of the country 
I shall 'feel it a great and gratifying distinction to be their 

To Lord Stanhope. 

HUGHENDEN, Jan. 22, '71. . . . I think the avoidance of 
Parliament, at such a crisis, is highly to be condemned: but 
I doubt, whether delays will mend their position. 

Next to Gambetta, the most wonderful man of the day is 

i Lord Morley writes in Gladstone, Bk. VI., ch. 5 : ' It was about this 
time that Mr. Gladstone took what was, for a Prime Minister, the 
rather curious step of volunteering an anonymous article in a review, 
upon these great affairs in which his personal responsibility was both 
heavy and direct. The precedent can hardly be called a good one, for, 
as anybody might have known, the veil was torn asunder in a few 
hours. . . . The article . . . was calculated to console his countrymen 
for seeing a colossal European conflict going on, without the privilege 
of a share in it. One passage about happy England happy especially 
that the wise dispensation of Providence had cut her off by the streak 
of silver sea from Continental dangers rather irritated than con- 


John Russell, who raises armies by a stroke of his pen, and 
encourages the country almost in ' Cambyses' vein.' What 
energy! At least in imagination. 

To Lord Derby. 

GROSVENOR GATE, Jan. 25, 1871. My views respecting French 
affairs are the same as expressed in our talks at Knowsley in 
the autumn, except that they are stronger. I can conceive 
nothing more fatal, than our entering into the contest, or assum- 
ing an anti-German position; and deeply regret the inveterate 
manner in wh. Ld Salisbury works the Q \uarterly~\ Review], 
and inspires the Standard, in that direction. No one has recog- 
nised his powers more readily than I have done at all times, but 
he is always wrong. 

It is unnecessary for me, therefore, to say, that I entirely 
agree with all you have written about France, and I shall be 
careful to use no word in a contrary spirit. 

I am not, however, sorry to see the country fairly frightened 
about foreign affairs. 1st, because it is well, that the mind of 
the nation should be diverted from that morbid spirit of do- 
mestic change and criticism, which has ruled us too much for 
the last forty years, and that the reign of priggism should 
terminate. It has done its work, and in its generation very 
well, but there is another spirit abroad now, and it is time that 
there shd. be. 

2nd. because I am persuaded that any reconstruction of our 
naval and military systems, that is practicable, will, on the 
whole, be favorable to the aristocracy, by wh. I mean particularly 
the proprietors of land : and 3rdly because I do not think the 
present party in power are well qualified to deal with the ex- 
ternal difficulties wh. await them. 

I cannot believe, that the conference, tho' peaceable, will be 
satisfactory, because I understand we are to relinquish all we 
fought for, and because I am persuaded that Russia will make 
another move on the board in about six months' time. 

Moreover, tho' I do not believe in an American war, I think 
the U.S. are going to worry us. Their reduction of their over- 
moderate armaments means nothing. Were there hostilities 
bet [ wee] n U.K. and U.S., they trust to privateering mainly for 
their naval offence, and their military institutions are of such 
a character, that they can create a powerful army as quickly 
as Germany. The Militia system of U.S. was always first-rate, 
or, in the revolt, our Generals would not have been beaten by 
a Militia Colonel! 


I think the Government, with the information wh. they 
possessed, were not justified in their reductions; that they com- 
pletely blundered the business when the crisis arrived; and that 
they do not comprehend our present position. On all these 
points I shall attack them, and I shall not discourage the 
country. And I hope you will not. With all your admirable 
prudence, I always maintain you were really the boldest Minister 
that ever managed our external affairs. Witness the Luxem- 
burg guarantee! the way in wh. you baffled Russia about Crete, 
when you were left alone; and the Abyssinian expedition all 
successful and eminently successful, but daring. Made tua, 
virtute ! 

When Parliament met, Disraeli attacked the Govern- 
ment on the lines of his letter to Derby. While he prom- 
ised full support for any measures they might propose to 
increase our military strength, he repeated that an armed 
neutrality might have prevented war and would certainly 
shorten it. But how could such a policy be adopted by a 
country without armaments? An armed neutrality was a 
very serious thing for a nation that for a year and a half 
had been disbanding its veterans; a nation with skeleton 
battalions and attenuated squadrons, batteries without suffi- 
cient guns, and yet more guns than gunners ; a nation with- 
out a military reserve; a nation, moreover, which had left 
off shipbuilding, reduced its crews and its stores, and failed 
to furnish artillery for its men-of-war. This was our 
plight when we were faced with an upheaval, the magnitude 
of which was fully realised by Disraeli's vivid imagination. 

Let me impress upon the attention of the House the character 
of this war between France and Germany. It is no common 
war, like the war between Prussia and Austria, or like the 
Italian war in which France was engaged some years ago; nor 
is it like the Crimean War. This war represents the German 
revolution, a greater political event than the French revolution 
of last century. I don't say a greater, or as great a social event. 
What its social consequences may be are in the future. Not a 
single principle in the management of our foreign affairs, ac- 
cepted by all statesmen for guidance up to six months ago, any 
longer exists. There is not a diplomatic tradition which has 
not been swept away. You have a new world, new influences 


at work, new and unknown objects and dangers with which to 
cope, at present involved in that obscurity incident to novelty in 
such affairs. We used to have discussions in this House about 
the balance of power. Lord Palmerston, eminently a practical 
man, trimmed the ship of State and shaped its policy with a 
view to preserve an equilibrium in Europe. . . . But what has 
really come to pass? The balance of power has been entirely 
destroyed, and the country which suffers most, and feels the 
effects of this great change most, is England. 

The result of this destruction of the balance of power 
was Russia's repudiation of the Treaty of 1856. Russia 
had a policy which, if inevitably disturbing, was legitimate 
and not blameworthy. She wished to get to the sea. 
Disraeli maintained that she had already accomplished her 
object, and had admirable harbours. But her further 
policy, to obtain Constantinople, he pronounced to be il- 
legitimate, like the French claim to have the Rhine. She 
had no moral claim to Constantinople ; she did not represent 
the race to which it once belonged ; she had two capitals al- 
ready, and a third would produce a dislocation of the gen- 
eral arrangement of her population. This was the policy 
which we fought the Crimean War to frustrate; and now 
the object for which we made serious sacrifices of valuable 
lives and treasure was to be treated as moonshine and given 
up in the Conference. 

The line which Gladstone and the Government took in 
answer to this argument was to assert that Palmerston and 
Clarendon never believed that the neutralisation of the Black 
Sea could last long, that they said so at the time to diplomat- 
ists and in private conversation with friends, and that in 
consequence they did not attach serious value or impor- 
tance to that part of the treaty. Lord Morley seems to 
accept these stories as credible and conclusive. Disraeli, 
however, powerfully pointed out in a subsequent debate l 
that England could have obtained all the other stipulations 
of the Treaty of Paris at the Conference of Vienna in the 
spring of 1855 ; but that Palmerston and Clarendon, sup- 

i Feb. 24. 


ported by the country, did not hesitate to fight for an- 
other year rather than make peace without obtaining the 
neutrality of the Black Sea. And yet Ministers were pre- 
pared ' to impute to statesmen of great eminence, and now 
unfortunately departed, opinions not only which they did 
not hold, but which were contrary to their convictions, 
which contradicted their whole policy, and which would in- 
timate that public men of the highest distinction who pro- 
posed a policy, in enforcing which the treasure of the coun- 
try was expended without stint, and the most precious lives 
of the country were sacrificed, were laughing in their sleeves 
at the excitement of the nation.' Disraeli suggested that 
those who took Palmerston's private remarks about public 
affairs too seriously forgot that that eminent man was a 
master of banter, and disliked discussions of grave matters 
when not in his cabinet or in the House of Commons. 

Gladstone, with a deplorable lack of humour, had ad- 
duced the fact that he had himself expressed in the House 
in 1856 the confident conviction that it was impossible to 
maintain the neutralisation of the Black Sea, as evidence 
of the view taken by the country at the time. Disraeli 
reminded him that he was then not a Minister, nor even 
leader of Opposition, but the most unpopular member of 
' a minute coterie of distinguished men who had no follow- 
ing in the country,' and whose lukewarmness and hesita- 
tion were supposed to have been responsible for the Crimean 
War. It is no wonder that Gladstone winced under this 
attack. ' The Premier was like a cat on hot bricks,' wrote 
a looker-on, ' and presented a striking contrast to Disraeli ; 
for Disraeli cuts up a Minister with as much sang-froid as 
an anatomist cuts up a frog. Gladstone could hardly keep 
his seat. He fidgetted, took a quire of notes, sent for blue 
books and water, turned down corners, and " hear-heared " 
ironically, or interrupted his assailant to make a denial of 
one of his statements, or to ask the page of a quotation so fre- 
quently that Disraeli had to protest once or twice by raising 
his eyebrows or shrugging his shoulders. And when Glad- 


stone rose, you could ' see that every stroke of Disraeli's 
had gone home. He was in a white passion, and almost 
choked with words, frequently pausing to select the harsh- 
est to he found.' 

Disraeli satisfactorily vindicated Palmerston and Claren- 
don, and the bona fides of British policy in 1855 and 1856, 
but he observed a discreet silence about his own personal 
opinion at the time, which he did not indeed obtrude in 
those years in debate, but to which he had given frequent 
vent in the Press. As may be remembered 1 he, like Glad- 
stone, then thought that too much stress was laid on Black 
Sea neutralisation, and that restrictions on the amount of 
naval force to be maintained by a Sovereign Power were 
illusory guarantees. So they had proved in this case to be, 
and the Conference of London buried them decently to the 
accompaniment of a special protocol recording that it was 
' an essential principle of the law of nations that no Power 
can liberate itself from the engagements of a treaty, nor 
modify the stipulations thereof, unless with the consent of 
the contracting Powers by means of an amicable arrange- 
ment.' But the example of Russia's success proved more 
powerful than a paper protocol. In 1908 Austria, one of 
the signatories of the protocol, repudiated an integral por- 
tion of the Treaty of Berlin, just as Russia in 1870 had re- 
pudiated an integral portion of the Treaty of Paris; and- 
under the threat of Germany in shining armour, Russia, the 
Power disregarded in 1908, and Europe acquiesced, without 
even providing a conference to give the repudiated clauses 
decent burial. 

What Disraeli said in the debate on the Address about 
America was almost as noteworthy as what he said about 
the Franco-Prussian War and the Russian thunderbolt. 
The claims of the United States against Great Britain, aris- 
ing out of the American Civil War, were still unsettled; 
and, in consequence, the then customary licence of Amer- 
ican public men in speaking of this country had exceeded 
i See Vol. IV., ch. 1. 


all bounds, even the President himself and the Chairman 
of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Senate having 
joined in it. As Gladstone gracefully confessed in the de- 
bate, ' the course of forbearance and prudence ' that Disraeli 
pursued during the Civil War entitled him, if any man, 
to be a critic in this matter without offence; and his criti- 
cism was very plain and timely. The American tone to- 
wards Great Britain, he said, was not, as he once thought, 
an instance of ' the rude simplicity of Republican man- 
ners ' ; because the American Government could be courte- 
ous enough to other Powers, such as Russia or Germany. 
It was only to Great Britain that they were insolent and of- 
fensive; and it was because they believed that they could 
adopt this attitude with impunity. It might be a mere 
electioneering game; but Disraeli uttered an impressive 

The danger is this they habitually excite the passions of 
millions, and some unfortunate thing happens, or something 
unfortunate is said in either country ; the fire lights up, it is 
beyond their control, and the two nations are landed in a con- 
test which they can no longer control or prevent. . . . Though 
I should look upon it as the darkest hour of my life if I were 
to counsel or even support in this House a war with the United 
States, still the United States should know that they are not an 
exception to .the other countries of the world; that we do not 
permit ourselves to be insulted by any other country in the 
world, and that they cannot be an exception. If once ... it is 
known that Her Majesty's dominions cannot be assaulted with- 
out being adequately defended, all this rowdy rhetoric, which is 
addressed to irresponsible millions, and as it is supposed with im- 
punity, will cease. 

Gladstone had come triumphantly through the first two 
sessions of the 1868 Parliament, and had carried three 
great Acts the Irish Church Act, the Irish Land Act, and 
the Education Act in such a manner as to enhance even 
his Parliamentary reputation, and to confirm the position 
of his Government. The session of 1871 saw a change. 
Russia's high-handed action appeared to show that Great 


Britain under Gladstone enjoyed no particular considera- 
tion in Europe, and his acquiescence in Russian demands, 
thinly disguised under the paraphernalia of a conference, 
hurt British self-respect and disposed people to look critically 
upon the other proceedings of his Government. And partly 
through ill-luck, but mainly through Ministerial inepti- 
tude, there was much to criticise. Disraeli accordingly be- 
came more active, and began those mordant and deftly 
aimed attacks which were eventually to bring the Ministry 
to the ground. 

First of all, the Minister who had persuaded Parliament 
to v discard the principles it cherished for England in order 
to pacify Ireland, and who had in the winter testified to 
his belief in the success of his policy by releasing the 
Fenians still in prison, came nevertheless to Parliament, 
for the third year in succession, for repressive legislation. 
The motion which the Chief Secretary made was for a secret 
Committee to inquire into the condition of an Irish county, 
Westmeath, where life was rendered intolerable by gross 
and constant outrages. Disraeli's taunts went home. 

The right hon. gentleman [Gladstone] persuaded the people 
of England that with regard to Irish politics he was in posses- 
sion of the philosopher's stone. Well, Sir, he has been returned 
to this House with an immense majority, with the object of 
securing the tranquillity and content of Ireland. Has anything 
been grudged him ? Time, labour, devotion whatever has been 
demanded has been accorded, whatever has been proposed has 
been carried. Under his influence and at his instance we have 
legalised confiscation, consecrated sacrilege, condoned high trea- 
son ; we have destroyed churches, we have shaken property to 
its foundation, and we have emptied gaols; and now he cannot 
govern a county without coming to a Parliamentary Committee ! 
The right hon. gentleman, after all his heroic exploits, and at 
the head of his great majority, is making government ridiculous. 

To Sir Stafford Northcote. 1 

GROSVENOB GATE, Mar. 10, '71. We have had some disquietude 
since you left us, and nearly a ministerial crisis. Gladstone 

i Who was at Washington, as one of the Commissioners to negotiate 
the Alabama treaty. 

1871] A ' HARUM-SCARUM ' BUDGET 139 

astonished us all by proposing a secret Committee on some Irish 
counties, where anarchy is rampant and spreading. It seemed, 
for four and twenty hours, that the Government must have 
been beaten : and I was obliged to leave the House with Hardy 
and between 50 and 60 of our friends to prevent a catastrophe, 
or something approaching one. However, affairs now are calm 
again, tho* the unpopularity of the Government, both in and 
out of the House, [is] daily increasing. It we only had fifty 
more votes, I could and would turn them out, but in the present 
state of affairs, they must remain. 

Politics seem also interesting in your part of the world, and 
the expulsion of Sumner * from the seat of his ceaseless mischief 
and malice seems to promise for the success of your mission. 

If U.S. would give in their adhesion to the Paris Declaration, 2 
my objections to that unwise document would certainly be miti- 
gated, tho' I shall always regret that shallow surrender to wan- 
ing Cobdenism. I could not however sanction the principle of 
private property at sea, and I do not believe, in the present state 
of the public mind, it would go down. There is a rising feeling 
that stringent maritime rights are the best, perhaps only, check 
and counterpoise against the military monarchies of the Conti- 
nent. . . . 

The Army Bill does not get on; the Radicals begin to think 
that, after doing away with purchase, they will have as aristo- 
cratic an army as before. 

In the next place Lowe, whose Budgets Disraeli scornfully 
qualified as ' harum-scarum/ produced his most harum- 
scarum Budget of all. Having an estimated deficit, due 
to additional military expenditure, of 2,700,000, Lowe 
proposed to meet it by a tax on matches, an increase of the 
succession duties, and an increase of 10s. 8d. per cent, 
(slightly over 1*4(1. in the pound) in the income tax. Rich 
and poor were alike disgusted. Popular discontent com- 
pelled the Government incontinently to drop the match- 
tax; the Whigs brought pressure to bear to prevent the in- 
crease of the succession duties; and finally Gladstone an- 
nounced that Ministers would put the whole burden on the 
income tax, which would be increased by 2d. On ' the 

1 Sumner was deposed this spring from the chairmanship of the 
Committee of the Senate on Foreign Relations. 

2 The Declaration of Paris in 1856 about maritime war. 


sweet simplicity ' of this proposal Disraeli was justifiably 
severe, and in many felicitous speeches held up the Budget, 
the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and the Government, to 
scorn and ridicule. The income tax was essentially an 
emergency or wax tax; it was monstrous, when your pro- 
posed indirect taxes had proved unpopular, to fall back on 
direct taxation for the whole amount of the deficiency. It 
was equally monstrous to charge the Opposition, who had 
the support of only one newspaper in London, with ' hound- 
ing on ' the country, and to attribute to their machinations 
the pecuniary difficulties in which the Government found 

The mortality among Government Bills was prodigious. 
Out of more than 130, the chronicler in the Annual Register 
tells us, the University Tests Bill alone, with some trifling 
exceptions, passed into law in its original shape. Two 
Bills of first-class importance Bruce's Licensing Bill and 
Goschen's Local Government Bill proved so unpopular, 
the one in the boroughs, the other in the counties, that they 
were withdrawn before second reading. Confidence in the 
administration of the navy was shaken by the capsizing of 
our newest battleship, the Captain, and in that of the army 
by the postponement of manoeuvres owing to the anticipa- 
tion of rainy weather! Important business was thrust 
aside in order to push forward a Ballot Bill, to which Glad- 
stone was a very recent convert. ' Why,' asked Disraeli, ' is 
all this old stuff brought before us ? Only because the 
Prime Minister has been suddenly converted to an expiring 
faith, and has passionately embraced a corpse.' It was all, 
he said, part of a system, the object of which was to oppress 
and alarm the public mind by constant changes. New meth- 
ods of Government, new principles of property, every sub- 
ject that could agitate the mind of nations, had been brought 
forward and patronised until the country, anxious and 
harassed, knew not what to expect. There might have been 
a plausible case, he maintained, for the ballot in the past, 


in the days of Old Sarum and Gatton. But now that the 
franchise was recognised to be a privilege and not a trust, 
it was a retrograde step to divorce political life from pub- 
licity. The Bill, obstructed by Conservative free-lances 
Beresf ord Hope, James Lowther, and the Bentincks in 
the Commons, was defeated in the Lords. 

The principal measure of the session, Cardwell's Army 
Regulation Bill, was indeed passed into law in a truncated 
form; but not until the Prime Minister, irritated by a 
dilatory resolution in the Lords, had invoked the preroga- 
tive to effect the main alteration proposed, the abolition of 
the system by which officers purchased their promotion. 
The system had grown up under Royal Warrant, and the 
Queen was in the end advised to terminate it by Royal 
Warrant, but only after the greater part of the session 
had been occupied in the effort to terminate it by the 
clauses of a Bill. So far as Cardwell's measure was cal- 
culated to effect a reorganisation of all our military forces, 
and to create a reserve by short service, Disraeli supported 
it; and he did not even oppose the abolition of purchase; 
though he rather doubted whether there was a really strong 
feeling on the subject in the country, and whether a system 
of selection would give us the officers we wanted. But he 
unhesitatingly disapproved the coup d'etat by which Min- 
isters attained their object. It was part of ' an avowed and 
shameful conspiracy against the privileges ' of the House of 
Lords. He did not dispute the prerogative of the Crownj 
but the prerogative should not be used to cut the Gordian 
knots that have to be encountered in dealing with popular 
assemblies. ' No Minister acts in a wise manner who, find- 
ing himself baffled in passing a measure, . . . comes for- 
ward and tells the House that he will defy the opinion of 
Parliament, and appeals to the prerogative of the Crown 
to assist him in -the difficulties which he himself has created/ 
Public opinion supported Disraeli in this protest against the 
manner in which an otherwise popular reform was carried. 


To Montagu Corry. 

HUGHENDEN, Sept. 17, '71. . . . I am sorry to find we shall 
not have you for our harvest home, which is on the 26th. Lan- 
cashire hangs fire. They themselves only propose the end of 
January, or the first week in February. I would not, under any 
circumstances, involve myself in such distant engagements, and 
I am still very doubtful, whether affairs are yet ripe enough 
for the move: in spite of Truro. 1 I have answered Lancashire 
in your name, not extinguishing all hope. 

We have never left Hughenden for a moment. Enjoying a 
summer of unbroken brilliancy: Miladi very well indeed. . . . 

Meyer de Rothschild continues his year of triumphs, 2 and 
Bucks is proud of having the first stable in the country. . . . 
Lord Russell is going abroad for a year, and shall not return 
for Parliament ' unless,' he adds, ' Mr. Gladstone attempts to 
abolish the House of Lords.' He has become quite deaf, but 
my informant tells me most agreeable and entertaining, because, 
as he can hear no one talk, he never ceases to talk himself. 
But when he is exhausted, he is bored, and you must go. ... 

In the course of this year, 1871, as Lord Morley tells us, 
' a wave of critical feeling began to run upon the throne.' 3 
The seclusion which the Queen had practised since the death 
of her husband was not unnaturally resented by her people ; 
and her Prime Minister repeatedly pressed her to increase 
the number of her public appearances. Neither Minister 
nor people quite realised the physical weakness which at this 
period made it impossible for Her Majesty to add, to the 
unceasing and laborious duties which she was bound to per- 
form of government behind the scenes, those ceremonial dis- 
plays which make much more demand upon the strength 
than can be easily understood by private individuals, whose 
modest position exempts them from the tiring experience. 
Disraeli had the knowledge and insight which others lacked ; 
and he took the opportunity of the harvest festival at 
Hughenden to explain what the state of the Queen's health 
was, and how conscientiously in spite of weakness she car- 
ried on the most material part of her work. 

i The Conservatives won a seat at Truro in a by-election this month. 
8 On the turf, Glwtstone, Bk. VI., ch, 10, 


The health of the Queen has for several years been a subject 
of anxiety to those about her, but it is only within the last year 
that the country generally has become acquainted with the 
gravity of that condition. I believe I may say that there is 
some improvement in Her Majesty's health, but I fear a long 
time must elapse before it will reach that average condition 
which she has for some time enjoyed, and I do not think we can 
conceal from ourselves that a still longer time must elapse before 
Her Majesty will be able to resume the performance of those 
public and active duties which it was once her pride and pleasure 
to fulfil, because they brought her into constant and immediate 
contact with her people. The fact is we cannot conceal from 
ourselves that Her Majesty is physically incapacitated from per- 
forming those duties, but it is some consolation to Her Majesty's 
subjects to know that, in the performance of those much higher 
duties which Her Majesty is called upon to perform she is still 
remarkable for a punctuality and a precision which have never 
been surpassed, and rarely equalled, by any monarch of these 
realms. , 

A very erroneous impression is prevalent respecting the duties 
of the Sovereign of this country. Those duties are multifarious ; 
they are weighty, and they are unceasing. I will venture to 
say that no head of any department in the State performs more 
laborious duties than fall to the Sovereign of this country. 
There is not a despatch received from abroad nor one sent from 
this country which is not submitted to the Queen. The whole 
internal administration of this country greatly depends upon 
the sign manual ; and of our present Sovereign it may be said that 
her signature has never been placed to any public document of 
which she did not know the purport and of which she did not 
approve. Those Cabinet Councils of which you all hear, and 
which are necessarily the scene of anxious and important de- 
liberations, are reported and communicated on their termination 
by the Minister to the Sovereign, and they often call from her 
critical remarks, necessarily requiring considerable attention. 
And I will venture to add that no person likely to administer 
the affairs of this country would treat the suggestions of Her 
Majesty with indifference, for at this moment there is probably 
no person living in this country who has such complete control 
over the political traditions of England as the Sovereign herself. 
!The last generation of statesmen have all, or almost all, dis- 
appeared: the Sir Robert Peels, the Lord Derbys, the Lord Pal- 
merstons have gone; and there is no person who can advise Her 
Majesty, or is likely to advise Her Majesty in the times in which 


we live, who can have such a complete mastery of what has 
occurred in this country, and of all the great and important 
affairs of State, foreign and domestic, for the last thirty-four 
years, as the Queen herself. He, therefore, would not be a wise 
man who would not profit by Her Majesty's judgment and experi- 
ence. . . . 

I would venture, in conclusion, to remind those whom I 
address that, although Her Majesty may be, and often is, of 
great service and assistance to her servants, there never was a 
more Constitutional Sovereign than our present Queen. All 
who have served her would admit that, when Ministers have 
been selected by her in deference to what she believed to be the 
highest interests of the State in the opinion of the country, 
she gives to them a complete confidence and undeviating sup- 
port. But although there never was a Sovereign who would 
more carefully avoid arrogating to herself any power or preroga- 
tive which the Constitution does not authorise, so I would add 
there never was a Sovereign more jealous, or more wisely jeal- 
ous, of the prerogatives which the Constitution has allotted to 
her, because she believes they are for the welfare of her people. 

The effect of Disraeli's words was unfortunately marred 
by a slip which he made in speaking a slip which party 
malice magnified and distorted. He said that the Queen 
was ' physically and morally incapacitated ' from perform- 
ing her duties of ceremonial and pageant. It was not a 
happy phrase and he immediately recalled it; but it gave 
no real foundation for the legend that was promptly cir- 
culated, to the effect that the Opposition leader had declared 
the Queen to be mentally incapacitated for her work. 
Even the Queen herself was disturbed, and Disraeli had 
to explain. 

To Sir William [Jenner]. 1 

[Oct., 1871.] . . . I need not assure you that the epithet 
moral involves 'mental no more than the epithet physical does. 
What I meant to convey was that neither Her Majesty's frame 
nor feelings could at present bear the strain and burthen of the 
pageantry of State. 

i The letter is printed from a draft, but it is fairly clear that Jen- 
ner, Her Majesty's physician, is the ' Sir William ' to whom it was 


After I had used the word it was suggested to me that it 
might be misinterpreted by the simple, and I requested the re- 
porters to omit it. I understood they willingly agreed to do 
so; but it seems the Daily Telegraph could not resist the oppor- 
tunity of attempting a sensation. 

The whole Press of authority, Times, Post Standard, Pall 
Mall, Daily News, Spectator, Saturday Review, Echo, have de- 
nounced, or utterly disregarded, the interpretation of the Tele- 
graph, which the country have not accepted and have felt to be 
quite inconsistent with the whole tenor of my observations. 

I need not say how deeply I regret that any expression of mine 
should have occasioned pain to Her Majesty, especially when my 
only object in speaking was an humble endeavor to assist the 
Queen. . . . 

A selection from Disraeli's letters throws some light on 
his interests during the autumn and winter of this year 
1871, the later weeks of which were a period of acute anxi- 
ety to the people of this country, owing to the dangerous 
illness of the Prince of Wales from typhoid fever. 

To the Duke of Wellington. 

f? Oct., 1871.]' . . . I was detained in town for three days 
with my time greatly to myself, and I spent it in examining 
and then partly perusing these 3 volumes [of the Wellington 
Despatches and Memoranda] with such keen interest, with 
so much delight, I may say, that I cannot refrain from express- 
ing to you however imperfectly my sense of their inestimable 
value. They form out-and-out much the most interesting politi- 
cal book that has been published in this century. Indeed I 
know of no memoirs of a great leading character, either in civil 
or military life, in any age or language, that I can place above 
them. The importance of the subjects treated, their immense 
variety, the striking events, the marked and historic character 
of the correspondents, the towering greatness of the chief actor, 
make a whole, so far as my knowledge can guide me, unrivalled. 

It would be useless to select portions or passages, yet if I had 
to name a composition which, alike in conception and execution, 
may vie with anything in classic pages, it is the letter of the 
Duke recommending the appointment of Mr. Canning to the 
King. Nothing more noble and nothing more skilful was ever 
penned by man, and one feels, as one reads it, that it must have 
raised and re-established, at least for the moment, the lax and 


shattered moral tone of the individual to whom it "was addressed. 

All about Canning subsequently, all about poor Castlereagh's 
sad and I fear disgraceful end, are most dramatic. That is the 
character of the volumes. They are full of life, and stirring 
life. The papers on the campaign, on the state of Spain and 
so on, all beyond praise. 

The effect of reading these volumes on me is this: that al- 
though my time for the past is now very limited, I shall certainly 
read the whole of your great father's works: a volume will 
always be at hand when I have time to recur to what has gone 
before us. 

The country owes you a debt of gratitude not easily to be 
repaid for the publication of this book. 

To Lord Henry Lennox. 

GROSVENOR GATE, Nov. 3, '71. I thought your speech thor- 
oughly capital: out-and-out, the star of the recess. I have not 
read Gladstone's. 1 I tried, but I could not get on with it: not 
a ray of intellect or a gleam of eloquence. They tell me that, 
if I had persevered, I should have been repaid, by encountering 
a quotation from the Hyde Park Litany; either a burlesque of 
the Athanasian Creed or of the National Anthem; equally ap- 
propriate in the mouth of our most religious and loyal ruler. . . . 

To Montagu Corry. 

HUGHENDEN, Dec. 4, '71. . . . Our camp is struck, and, prob- 
ably in 8 and 40 hours, we shall be settled permanently at G.G. 
The stable goes up to-morrow. The severe and savage weather, 
that prevents all outdoor employment, quite sickened my lady, 
who had trusted to planting and marking trees to amuse her. 
Now she sighs for Park Lane, and twilight talk and tea. The 
Canford party rather precipitated her resolve, but the prospect 
even of that being put off will not now change affairs here. . . . 

We have received telegrams from Sandringham every morn- 
ing, and generally speaking Francis Knollys 2 has written by 
post with details which telegrams cannot convey. Our telegram 
this morning the most favorable we have yet received, and the 
second post, which brought your letter, brought also one from 
F. K 

1 Gladstone's famous speech of two hours in the open air at Black- 
heath, in the course of which he quoted, with approval, from a re- 
publican and secularist book of poems, a parody of the National 

2 Private Secretary to the Prince of Wales, and subsequently to King 
Edward and King George; now Viscount Knollys. 


They are still very nervous at Sandringham, and very cautious 
in their language, but it is evident to me, that they think they 
have turned the corner. . . . 

To Gathorne Hardy. 

GROSVENOR GATE, Dec. 23, 1871. I had seen Noel 1 before 
I received your letter, and had given him the same answer as 
you had done. Great wits, etc. 

The proposition is absurd. We cannot modify the position 
we have taken up on the Ballot, tho' many of our friends may 
wish to do so. It wd. break up the party, which is in a toler- 
ably robust state at present. 

What we shd. do, is to get the Bill thro' our House with as 
much promptitude as decency permits. The Govt. wd. like to 
keep it there and distract attention from other matters. Our 
policy is the reverse. 

There must be a discussion on the principle, but it need not 
be a prolonged one, and, in Comm[itt]ee, we shd. confine our- 
selves to ~bona fide improvements of its machinery, wh. may be 
the foundation, if fortune favored us, of a future compromise. 

We are here rather unexpectedly, having been stopped in our 
progress to country houses by the impending calamity, and being 
too anxious to return to Hughenden; and now, in a few days, 
we shall have to fulfil some of these engagements, so I don't 
think we shall return to Bucks. . . . 

i One of the Whips. 




In 1869 Disraeli had some real leisure, for the first time 
for many years. When he led the Opposition against Rus- 
sell, Aberdeen, and Palmerston, it had been in Parliaments 
where parties were fairly balanced, and a change of Gov- 
ernment was always a possibility. In these circumstances 
the labours of leadership were nearly as onerous in opposi- 
tion as in office. But, with the large and compact majority 
of 1868, Gladstone's Government was for the time im- 
pregnable; and Disraeli's mind therefore naturally turned 
to his early love, literature. It was more than twenty 
years since the publication of his last novel, Tancred, in 
March, 1847 ; it was nearly twenty years since his last book, 
Lord George Bentinck, in December, 1851 ; it was more 
than a dozen years since he had ceased active journalism 
in the Press, in February, 1856. Tancred and Lord George 
Bentinck and the articles in the Press had still breathed, 
though not to the extent of his earlier political writing, the 
spirit of combat and propaganda; they had been the work 
of one who, though he had risen high, was still fighting for 
his ideas and for his place. Now he had arrived ; he had 
carried a great historical measure ; he had held the highest 
position under the Crown ; his ambition was largely satis- 
fied; and when he began to write again, in his sixty-fifth 
year, it was in a somewhat different vein. He surveyed 
the great world of his day, now intimately known by him, 
and he drew a picture of aristocratic and political society, 
and of the ideas animating it, together with the currents 



of thought and action which were moulding the history of 
Europe. Like the great trilogy of Coningsby, Sybil, and 
Tancred, Lothair was a political novel, and a political novel 
dealing with the events of the day; unlike them, its un- 
derlying purpose seems to have been subordinated to a 
desire to mirror and satirise the passing show. Unlike 
them, too, it observes a reticence, becoming in an ex-Premier, 
with regard to the leading figures in the political arena and 
to the immediate subjects of acute political dissension. 

Different as it was from the trilogy in its outlook, it was 
different also in the secrecy in which it was conceived 
and written. 1 1 make it a rule never to breathe a word on 
such matters to anyone,' Disraeli told a literary friend in 
1872. ' My private secretary, Mr. Montagu Corry, who 
possesses my entire confidence in political matters, who opens 
all my letters, and enters my cabinet and deals, as he likes, 
with all my papers in my absence, never knew anything 
about Lothair until he read the advertisement in the 
journals.' This was a new practice for Disraeli, as in re- 
gard to the trilogy and to Lord George Beniinck he made 
confidences about his progress from time to time to his 
sister, and to his close friends such as Manners, Smythe, and 
Lady Londonderry. No such sources of information are 
available in regard to the composition of Lothair. But 
the incident which suggested the main action of the story, 
the reception of the third Marquis of Bute into the Church 
of Rome, only took place on Christmas Eve, 1868. Disraeli 
had then just resigned office; and we may therefore con- 
fidently look upon the book as the firstfruits of his retire- 
ment. The stimulus to write it may well have been pro- 
vided by the offer of 10,000 for a novel, which was made 
to him by a publisher immediately on his resignation, but 
declined with thanks. The book was finished in the spring 
of 1870. The arrangement with Longmans for its pub- 
lication was made in February of that year, and it appeared 
at the beginning of May. 

The story of Lothair covers almost exactly the period of 

150 LOTHAIR [CHAP, iv 

Disraeli's third tenure of office ; it is all comprised between 
the August of 1866 and the August of 1868; and yet, 
though a great number of his English characters are more 
or less politicians, there is no reference to the Reform strug- 
gles or to the passage of the Reform Bill, or (save as a mat- 
ter involving urgent whips) to the debates on the Irish 
Church; nor is there any personal allusion to the Prime 
Ministers of the time, first Derby and then Disraeli him- 
self. The political and social movements, the intellectual 
and spiritual problems, which form the background of 
Disraeli's story, had in truth little relation with actual pro- 
ceedings in Westminster Palace. Secret societies and their 
international energies, the Church of Rome and her claims 
and methods, the eternal conflict between science and faith : 
these are the forces shown to be at work beneath the surface 
of that splendid pageant of English aristocracy in which 
most of Disraeli's characters move, and which he never 
described with more brilliance and gusto than in Lothair. 
So brilliant is that description that Froude even asks us to 
see the true value of the book in its perfect representation 
of patrician society in England flourishing in its fullest 
bloom, but, like a flower, opening fully only to fade. 

The plot is simple. The hero, one of those fortunate 
beings whom he loved to paint, an orphan peer apparently 
a marquis of fabulous wealth, brought up and educated 
quietly in Presbyterian fashion in Scotland, is thrown, as 
he reaches adolescence, fresh upon the world, first of Oxford, 
and then of London and the great country houses. The 
priggishness born of his early education leads him at the 
outset to say, ( My opinions are already formed on every 
subject; that is to say, every subject of importance; and, 
what is more, they will never change.' But he is in reality 
very impressionable, and anxious to discover, like Tancred, 
what he ought to do and what he ought to believe. All the 
influences and all the teachers of the day are naturally con- 
centrated upon one whose adhesion might be expected so ma- 
terially to benefit any cause which he espoused. The main 


struggle is between three forces, represented by three women, 
with all of whom Lothair falls successively in love. These 
forces are, first, the Church of Rome ; secondly, the interna- 
tional revolution and what may be called free religion ; and 
thirdly, the Church of England and the round of duties 
and occupations natural to Lothair's birth and station. 
Clare Arundel, the representative of the first force, is an 
attractive and ardent saint; Theodora Campian, the repre- 
sentative of the second force, has great personal charm, lofty 
character, and high purpose. But Theodora dies and Clare 
enters a convent; and the victory is won in the end by the 
Lady Corisande, the representative of the third force, whose 
principles are indeed immaculate but who is a somewhat 
uninteresting heroine. The action takes place mainly in 
London and in three English country houses ; but the autumn 
and winter of 1867 are occupied with Lothair's experiences 
in Rome and the neighbourhood; and the spring of 1868 
finds him in those scenes of the Mediterranean and the 
Holy Land which Disraeli visited as a young man and 
afterwards lovingly reproduced in so many of his 

Nothing in the book is more carefully drawn or more 
delicately finished than the chapters which deal with the 
Roman Catholic group of priests and laymen who conspire 
the word is hardly too strong to entrap Lothair into 
the Roman Church. The old Catholic English family 
Lord St. Jerome, devout and easy in his temper, but an 
English gentleman to the backbone, who gave at his ball 
suppers the same champagne that he gave at his dinners; 
Lady St. Jerome, an enthusiastic convert, ' a woman to in- 
spire crusaders,' who received Lothair at a party l with 
extreme unction ' ; and their beautiful niece, Clare Arundel, 
who could only be weaned from the convent in which her 
hopes had centred by the vision of attracting Lothair through 
marriage into the true fold : and then the priests Father 
Coleman, whose devotion to gardening masked his skill as a 
controversialist; Monsignore Catesby, the aristocratic and 

152 LOTHAIR ' [CHAP, iv 

fashionable missionary of the Church to convert the upper 
classes; Monsignore Berwick, the priest as statesman, the 
favourite pupil of Antonelli; and Cardinal Grandison, a 
wonderful study of asceticism, devotion, high breeding, tact, 
delicacy, and unscrupulousness, whose appearance and man- 
ner were copied from Manning, though some of his mental 
and moral characteristics may be referred to Wiseman. 
' It seemed that the soul never had so frail and fragile a 
tenement ' as his attenuated form ; * I never eat and I never 
drink,' he said in refusing an invitation to dinner. One 
marked feature in his character was that he was ' an entire 
believer in female influence, and a considerable believer in 
his influence over females.' 

Disraeli was at once attracted and repelled by Rome. 
Her historical tradition and her sensuous and ceremonial 
worship appealed strongly to one side of his nature; but 
he was even more keenly alive to the bondage which she 
imposed upon the spirit of man, and he had been of late 
particularly impressed by the stealthy and indirect meth- 
ods which her propaganda in England had assumed. He 
had had a personal experience of a disagreeable but reveal- 
ing character in the ' stab in the back ' which Manning and 
the Roman party had given him over the question of Uni- 
versity education. Both the attraction and the repulsion 
are brought out in Lothair. The description of the service 
of Tenebrce in Holy Week at Vauxe, the St. Jeromes' 
country house, is such as to satisfy the emotions of a devout 
Roman Catholic; the St. Jerome family life and Clare's 
aspirations are sympathetically treated; and there is no 
lack of appreciation of the enormous support the Roman 
Church affords to that religious element in man which he 
held it to be essential to foster. 

On the other hand, a large portion of the book is occupied 
by a merciless dissection of the various arts employed by 
Cardinals and Monsignori to entangle Lothair so deeply in 
the meshes of Roman influence that conversion might ap- 
pear to him to be the only honourable outcome. Begun in 


London and at Vauxe, continued during the coming-of-age 
festivities at Muriel Towers, and brought to a climax at 
Rome after the battle of Mentana, these machinations were 
so cleverly contrived that their object was within an ace of 
accomplishment. Moved by the overpowering personality 
of Theodora, Lothair had temporarily thrown off their 
trammels, and had even ranged himself by Garibaldi's side 
in the advance on Rome in the autumn of 1867. The 


return of the French garrison had wrecked the hopes of the 
enterprise; Theodora was killed; and Lothair himself fell, 
badly wounded, at Mentana. A kindly Italian peasant 
woman of handsome mien brought news of his plight to 
Clare Arundel, who was in Rome for the winter and occu- 
pied in caring for the faithful wounded. She found him 
all unconscious in a hospital and nursed him back to life. 
During his illness a pious legend was evolved ; the peasant 
woman was discovered to be the Virgin Mary, recognised 
as such by the halo round her head; and it was claimed 
that Lothair had been fighting, when he fell, on behalf of 
the Pope instead of against him. He was induced in his 
weak state to support Clare in an ecclesiastical function 
which he believed to be merely one of thanksgiving for 
recovery, but which the official Papal journal treated as a 
solemn recognition on his part of the special favour shown 
by the Mother of God to her chivalrous defender. The 
mendacities of the official account drove Lothair, still suf- 
fering, and almost a prisoner of the Church in a Roman 
palace, to a mixture of indignation and despair; but he 
thought he might rely on Cardinal Grandison as an English 
gentleman and a man of honour to put the matter right. He 
was mistaken; and the description of the conversation be- 
tween the two is inimitable. 

To Lothair's protestations against l a tissue of falsehood 
and imposture/ the Cardinal opposed confidence in an 
f official journal ' drawn up by ' truly pious men.' It was, 
he said, the ' authentic ' story of what happened at Mentana ; 
Lothair's own statement, he airily suggested, had neither 

154 LOTHAIE [CHAP, iv 

confirmation nor probability ; ' you have been very ill, my 
dear young friend, and labouring under much excitement.' 
Such hallucinations were not uncommon, and would wear off 
with returning health. 

King George IV. believed that he was at the Battle of Water- 
loo, and indeed commanded there; and his friends were at one 
time a little alarmed; but Knighton, who was a sensible man, 
said, ' His Majesty has only to leave off curagao, and rest assured 
he will gain no more victories.' 

Lothair must remember, the Cardinal continued, that he 
was in the centre of Christendom, the abode of truth. 
' Divine authority has perused this paper and approved 
it. ... It records the most memorable event of the cen- 
tury.' The appearance of the Virgin in Rome had given 
the deathblow to atheism and the secret societies; Lothair 
must return to England and reconquer it for Rome. The 
eye of Christendom was upon him. He might be bewildered 
like St. Thomas, but like him he would become an apostle. 
The Holy Father would personally receive him next day 
into the bosom of the Church. 

In spite of all the Cardinal's arts, a vision of Theodora 
at night in the Coliseum Disraeli was partial to visions 
as a melodramatic resource saved Lothair from the 
priests ; and the Cardinal, when he met him afterwards in 
London, affected complete unconsciousness as to the in- 
trigue in Rome, and even suggested to him that he should 
attend the approaching Ecumenical Council as an Ang- 
lican ! 

The revolutionary characters in Lothair are almost as 
closely studied, in themselves, and in their setting, as the 
Roman. With the Revolution as with Rome Disraeli, who 
claimed once that he had a revolutionary mind, had a cer- 
tain sympathy, which, though it did not blind him to the 
impossible nature of the creed, enabled him to understand 
it. Theodora herself is certainly his most elaborately con- 
ceived heroine. Seen by Lothair first at an evening party, 

1870] THEODOKA 155 

her face is thus described : ' It was the face of a matron, 
apparently of not many summers, for her shapely figure was 
still slender, though her mien was stately. . . . The coun- 
tenance . . . pale, but perfectly Attic in outline, with the 
short upper lip and the round chin, and a profusion of 
dark chestnut hair bound by a Grecian fillet, and on her 
brow a star.' She had sat for the head of ' La Republique 
Franchise ' in 1850, as a girl of seventeen, and was there- 
fore well over thirty when she met Lothair in the autumn 
of 1866. She was the wife of an American Colonel, with 
a villa at Putney. An Italian by birth, she was an ardent 
sympathiser with movements for freedom throughout the 
world ; but for the unity of her native country and the de- 
struction of Papal government in Rome she was prepared 
to give her life. Dr. Garnett has happily observed that 
' she impersonates all the traits which Shelley especially 
valued in woman,' and that she was also her creator's ideal. 
f There is not a single touch of satire in the portrait ; it 
plainly represents the artist's highest conception of woman.' 
A hater of priests and priestcraft, Theodora is yet strongly 
religious in her idealistic way. Orthodoxy, she holds, has 
very little to do with religion ; ' I worship,' she tells Lothair, 
' in a church where I believe God dwells, and dwells for 
my guidance and my good : my conscience.' The romantic 
adoration, free from all sensual taint, with which she in- 
spires Lothair is drawn with great delicacy. Indeed ' the 
exquisite and even sublime friendship, which had so strongly 
and beautifully arisen, like a palace in a dream, and ab- 
sorbed his being,' was a sentiment of which the author was 
himself capable, at all stages of his life. 

As Theodora represents the ideal side of the revolu- 
tionary movement, so Captain Bruges embodies the prac- 
tical side. His career corresponds to, and may have been 
copied from, that of General Cluseret, the military com- 
mander who was so prominent in the Paris Commune. 
Bruges's common sense and resolution shine amid the mouth- 
ings of the revolutionary council in Soho and the turmoil of 

156 LOTHAIE [CHAP, iv 

the Fenian meeting in Hoxton; and when he takes com- 
mand of the camp in the Apennines he appears as a true 
leader of men, bold, wary, and unscrupulous. His mis- 
sion is to be the sword-arm of the secret societies, Mary 
Anne of France and Madre Natura of Italy. 

From a very early date, Disraeli had been deeply im- 
pres_sed by the widespread activities of the secret societies 
in Europe. He drew special attention to the danger in 
Lord George BentincTc and in his speeches in the House 
of Commons on the Italian question. During his recent 
term of office, Irish and Irish-American Fenianism had to 
be met and defeated ; and the information that then poured 
in upon the Government confirmed and extended his previous 
knowledge of revolutionary conspiracies. Of all this he 
made full use in Lothair. Reviewers accused him of gross 
exaggeration, of conjuring up imaginary perils ; Mary Anne, 
though referred to in the protocols of Paris in 1856, was 
treated as a bogey. But within a year the outbreak of 
the Paris Commune, with its revelation of the malign work- 
ings of the International Society, showed how thoroughly 
well justified were the apprehensions of Disraeli's Mon- 
signori and diplomatists, and the boasts of his revolution- 
aries. Catesby says of the secret societies : l They have 
declared war against the Church, the State, and the domestic 
principle. All the great truths and laws on which the fam- 
ily reposes are denounced. Their religion is the religion 
of science.' The French Ambassador declares that the Mary 
Anne associations in France were all alive and astir. 
' Mary Anne,' he explains, ' was the real name for the Re- 
public years ago, and there always was a sort of myth that 
these societies had been founded by a woman. . . . The 
word has gone out to all these societies that Mary Anne has 
returned, and will issue her orders, which must be obeyed.' 
And Bruges, the revolutionary general, confirms the rep- 
resentatives of authority. ' There are more secret socie- 
ties at this moment than at any period since '85, though you 
hear nothing of them j and they believe in Mary Anne, and 


in nothing else.' He anticipates, moreover, and defends 
the policy of arson which the Commune employed, to the 
world's horror, in Paris in the spring of 1871. He is 
speaking of Rome. ' Those priests ! I fluttered them once. 
Why did I spare any? Why did I not burn down St. 
Peter's ? I proposed it.' There was something to be said 
for Monsignore Berwick's ejaculation: t It is the Church 
against the secret societies. They are the only two strong 
things in Europe, and will survive kings, emperors, or par- 

When Disraeli dealt with his third set of influences, 
those springing from English society and the Anglican 
Communion, he painted with some boldness from people he 
knew and personal and family circumstances which had 
come directly under his observation. The plot was sug- 
gested by Lord Bute's recent conversion to Rome ; and Bute's 
history was faithfully followed in Lothair's vast fortune and 
long minority, in his elaborate coming-of-age festivities, in 
his relations with Monsignore Capel (called in the book 
Catesby, but ' Capel ' appeared by a slip in one passage in 
the original issue), and even in the ducal family where 
he went to seek a bride. But Lothair was not received into 
the Church of Rome, and Bute in the end married a lady who 
was not a daughter of ' the duke ' of the novel. Nor did 
Lothair resemble Bute in appearance, character, or tastes. 
Indeed Lothair is given so little character, save that of 
general candour, openness, and desire to do right, coupled 
with a trifle of priggishness, that Sir Leslie Stephen is al- 
most justified in his remark that c Lothair reduces himself 
so completely to a mere " passive bucket " to be pumped into 
by every variety of teacher, that he is unpleasantly like a 

If the hero's circumstances almost directly reproduced 
Bute's, there is a still closer resemblance between ' the 
duke ' of Lothair and his family, and a duke and his fam- 
ily who were numbered among Disraeli's friends. l Lord 
Abercorn has thirteen children/ wrote Disraeli in 1863 to 

158 LOTHAIK [CHAP, iv 

Mrs. Willyams after meeting the Abercorns at Hatfield; 
' and looks as young as his son who is an M.P. . . . His 
daughters are so singularly pretty that they always marry 
during their first season, and always make the most splen- 
did matches.' So of the ducal family described in the 
early pages of Lothair we are told that the sons and daughters 
reproduced the appearance and character of their parents, 
and the daughters ' all met the same fate. After seven- 
teen years of a delicious home, they were presented and im- 
mediately married.' The Duke of Abercorn, who obtained 
his dukedom on Disraeli's recommendation, was one of the 
handsomest men of the day ; and society enjoyed the gentle 
raillery which wrote of ' the duke ' : ' Every day when he 
looked into the glass, and gave the last touch to his consum- 
mate toilette, 1 he offered his grateful thanks to Providence 
that his family was not unworthy of him.' That the fam- 
ily so graciously characterised by Disraeli was not unworthy 
has since been abundantly shown by the distinguished place 
its members have occupied in the political and social world. 
But Disraeli has dowered the dukedom of Abercorn with 
all, and more than all, the then possessions of that of 
Sutherland. Brent-ham must be Trentham, and Crecy 
House in London Stafford House. 

From Montagu Corry. 

ADMIRALTY, Sept. 22, 1868. . . . He (Lord Bute) is going 
to Baronscourt next month, it is evident rather as a claimant 
of his bride than as a suitor. Evidently the whole matter is 
already arranged. But still, I fear, that his joining himself 
to the ' scarlet woman' and soon too is equally certain. 

Fergusson says that no ingenuity can counteract the influence 
which certain priests and prelates have over him, chief among 
them being Monsignore Oapel. The speedy result is inevitable, 
and the consummation is only delayed till he has won his 
bride. . . . 

i Disraeli seldom committed the artistic mistake of reproducing the 
character and habits of his original in every detail. The Duke of 
Abercorn was careless about the fit of his clothes. 


The Anglican Bishop is clearly taken from Wilberforce; 
and considering the licence which the Bishop since the 
autumn of 1868 had permitted himself to use in speaking 
and writing of Disraeli, is a not unflattering portrait. The 
Bishop in Lothair is described as l polished and plausible, 
well-lettered, yet quite a man of the world. He was fond 
of society, and justified his taste in this respect by the flat- 
tering belief that by his presence he was extending the 
power of the Church ; certainly favouring an ambition which 
could not be described as being moderate.' We are told of 
his ' gracious mien/ his ' honeyed expressions ' ; that he 
was ' a man of contrivance and resolution ' ; while in his 
lighter moments he was capable of ' seraphic raillery,' 
' angelic jokes,' and ' lambent flashes.' It was when he had 
made some particularly deadly lunge or parry, in the secret 
duel for Lothair's soul which was carried on between him 
and the Cardinal at Muriel Towers, that these playful char- 
acteristics were displayed. 

The minor characters are as distinctive and amusing as 
they are wont to be in Disraeli's novels. There is St. 
Aldegonde, heir to the wealthiest dukedom in the kingdom, 
but ' a republican of the reddest dye. He was opposed to 
all privilege, and indeed to all orders of men, except dukes, 
who were a necessity. He was also strongly in favour of 
the equal division of all property, except land. Liberty 
depended upon land, and the greater the landowners the 
greater the liberty of a country.' He comes down to break- 
fast in a country house on Sunday morning in a ( shooting 
jacket of brown velvet and a pink shirt and no cravat,' and, 
in the presence of the Bishop of the Diocese, exclaims 
* in a loud voice, and with the groan of a rebellious Titan, 
"How I hate Sunday!"' 

Then there is Mr. Phoebus, the painter, who belongs rather 
to the revolutionary group than to the panorama of society ; 
a descendant of Gascon nobles, and brilliant, brave, and 
boastful as they ; the prophet of Aryan art against Semitism. 

160 LOTHAIK [CHAP, iv 

' When Leo the Tenth was Pope,' he says, l popery was 
pagan ; popery is now Christian, and art is extinct.' What 
he admires about the aristocracy is that they ' live in the air, 
that they excel in athletic sports ; that they can only speak 
one language ; and that they never read.' It was the highest 
education since the Greek. Nothing could induce him to 
use paper money; but he carried about with him on his 
travels ' several velvet bags, one full of pearls, another of 
rubies, another of Venetian sequins, Napoleons, and golden 
piastres. " I like to look at them," said Mr. Phoebus, " and 
find life more intense when they are about my person. But 
bank notes, so cold and thin, they give me an ague." He 
rented an island in the ^Egean where, in the company of his 
beautiful Greek wife and her equally attractive sister, he 
' pursued a life partly feudal, partly Oriental, partly Vene- 
tian, and partly idiosyncratic ' ; but, in spite of his Aryan- 
ism, he consented to go to the Holy Land on a commission 
from the Russian Government to paint Semitic subjects, 
moved partly by the reflection, ' They say no one can draw 
a camel. If I went to Jerusalem a camel would at last be 
drawn.' It was Phoebus who refurbished and launched 
the ancient gibe at the critics, as ' the men who have failed 
in literature and art.' 

Mr. Pinto is another capital sketch ; the middle-aged, 
oily Portuguese who was one of the marvels of society. ' In- 
stead of being a parasite, everybody flattered him; and 
instead of being a hanger-on of society, society hung on 
Pinto.' ' He was not an intellectual Croesus, but his pockets 
were full of sixpences.' Here is one of his ' sixpences ' in 
conversation with St. Aldegonde. ' English is an expres- 
sive language, but not difficult to master. Its range is 
limited. It consists, as far as I can observe, of four words : 
" nice," " jolly," " charming," and " bore." ' 

Then we have Lord and Lady Clanmorne, ' so good- 
looking and agreeable that they were as good at a dinner- 
party as a couple of first-rate entrees ' : and Apollonia, the 
wife of Putney Giles, the prosperous solicitor, whose prin- 


cipal mission it was to destroy the Papacy and her lesser 
impulses to become acquainted with the aristocracy and 
to be surrounded by celebrities. Sir William Stirling Max- 
well, in congratulating Disraeli, happly singled out ' your 
remarkable power of painting a character by a single stroke.' 
Nor must we forget Mr. Ruby, the Bond Street jeweller, 
whose conversation with his eminent clients is delightful. 
He holds forth to Lothair on pearls. 

Pearls are troublesome property, my Lord. They require 
great care; they want both air and exercise; they must be worn 
frequently; you cannot lock them up. The Duchess of Havant 
has the finest pearls in the country, and I told her Grace, ' Wear 
them whenever you can, wear them at breakfast;' and her Grace 
follows my advice, she does wear them at breakfast. I go down 
to Havant Castle every year to see her Grace's pearls, and I 
wipe every one of them myself, and let them lie on a sunny bank 
in the garden, in a westerly wind, for hours and days together. 
Their complexion would have been ruined had it not been for 
this treatment. 

Visitors to Hughenden in the latter years of Lady Bea- 
consfield's life remember how faithfully Disraeli followed 
Mr. Ruby's advice ; how he was wont himself, on sunny days, 
to bring out his wife's pearls and lay them carefully on the 
grass by the terrace, so that they might not fail to get the 
' air ' which was so important for their complexion. 

Scattered here and there throughout the book are many 
shrewd political appreciations. Take this, of Scotland : 
' The Establishment and the Free Kirk are mutually sigh- 
ing for some compromise which may bring them together 
again ; and if the proprietors would give up their petty 
patronage, some flatter themselves that it might be ar- 
ranged.' Disraeli himself was to abolish the * petty pa- 
tronage,' and now for several years Presbyterian reunion 
has been drawing visibly nearer. About Ireland there is 
naturally more. A revolutionary leader says of the Irish: 
' Their treason is a fairy tale, and their sedition a child 
talking in its sleep ' ; while a Roman Mbnsignore tells us 
that < the difficulty of Ireland is that the priests and the 

162 LOTHAIR [CHAP, iv 

people will consider everything in a purely Irish point of 
view. To gain some local object, they will encourage the 
principles of the most lawless Liberalism, which naturally 
land them in Fenianism and atheism.' The aspirations of 
Germany after a fleet are again noted. In the revolution- 
ary meeting in London the German delegate says : ' The 
peoples will never succeed till they have a fleet. ... To 
have a fleet we rose against Denmark in my country. . . . 
The future mistress of the seas is the land of the Viking ' 
an odd paraphrase for Germany. Of Austria Monsignore 
Berwick says : ' Poor Austria ! Two things made her a 
nation : she was German and she was Catholic, and now 
she is neither.' A French diplomatist suggests to the Mon- 
signore the very settlement of the Roman question which 
was actually effected in a few months : ' I wish I could in- 
duce you to consider more favourably that suggestion, that 
His Holiness should content himself with the ancient city, 
and, in possession of St. Peter's and the Vatican, leave the 
rest of Rome to the vulgar cares and the mundane anxieties 
of the transient generation.' And the Disraeli of Sybil 
and of the Artisans' Dwellings Acts speaks through the 
mouth of Lothair when he says : ' It seems to me that 
pauperism is not an affairs so much of wages as of dwellings. 
If the working classes were properly lodged, at their present 
rate of wages, they would be richer. They would be health- 
ier and happier at the same cost.' 

There are of course the oddities of grammar, absurdities 
of expression, and exaggerations of fact and of phrase, 
which no novel of Disraeli's is without; and in Lokhair 
some readers are put off by the occurrence of a large pro- 
portion of these in the early pages. But we have also, what 
is more to the purpose, an abundance of those apt phrases, 
half aphorism half paradox, into which Disraeli distilled 
his worldly and other-worldly wisdom. The hansom is 
' the gondola of London ' ; Pantheism is l atheism in dom- 
ino ' ; a member of the Church of England appears to a 
Roman convert to be t a Parliamentary Christian ' ; an 


agreeable person is ' a person who agrees with ' you ; at the 
end of the season ' the baffled hopes must go to Cowes, and 
the broken hearts to Baden ' ; ' the originality of a subject 
is in its treatment ' ; ' the world, where the future is con- 
cerned, is generally wrong ' ; ' patriotism was a boast and 
now it is a controversy ' ; ' to revive faith is more difficult 
than to create it.' 

The joy which Disraeli evinces in the material world, in 
natural and artistic beauty, in the dignity and even in the 
gauds and tinsel of wealthy and aristocratic life, should 
never blind the reader to the fact that the story of the book 
is a spiritual conflict, and that the author puts here, as in 
Tancred and all his more serious writing, the soul above 
the body. It is Lothair' s soul for which the various forces 
have been contending. The somewhat shadowy Syrian 
Christian, Paraclete, whom Lothair meets towards the end 
of his wanderings, seems to speak the author's real mind. 
What is his teaching ? ' Science may prove the insignifi- 
cance of this globe in the scale of creation, but it cannot 
prove the insignificance of man. . . . There is no relation 
between the faculties of man and the scale in creation of 
the planet which he inherits.' ' There must be design, or 
all we see would be without sense, and I do not believe in the 
unmeaning.' ' A monad of pure intelligence, is that more 
philosophical than the truth . . . that God made man in 
his own image ? ' Science can no more satisfy the soul than 
superstition or revolt. But Disraeli's practical advice is 
that which the revolutionary General gave as his parting 
word to Lothair. ' Whatever you do, give up dreams. . . . 
Action may not always be happiness, but there is no happi- 
ness without action.' These are the things in the knowledge 
of which Disraeli declares the salvation of our youth to con- 
sist. * Nosse omnia hsec salus est adolescentulis ' is the 
motto from Terence prefixed to the book. 

Beyond this motto, Disraeli, who revealed in the general 
preface to the novels in the autumn the origin and inten- 
tion of his earlier romances, declined to give any hint about 

164 LOTHAIE [CHAP, iv 

the purport of Lothair. But Longmans, his publishers, cir- 
culated, presumably with his consent, as an advertisement 
of the new edition, a letter which Professor John Stuart 
Blackie had addressed to the Scotsman on the significance 
of the work. It was undoubtedly, Blackie maintained, 
' what the Germans call a tendenz-roman/ showing how cer- 
tain intellectual agencies, prominent in the world at the 
time, act upon a hero of the Wilhelm Meister type, and how 
the illusions of Romanism may be dispelled in favour of 
rational liberty and rational piety. Count Vitzthum, Dis- 
raeli's old friend in the diplomatic world, also noted the 
resemblance to Wilhelm Meister, both novels treating of 
1 the development of a human being by the working of life 
and experience.' But he thought Goethe's hero looked 
' pale, narrow-minded, little, a poor bourgeois,' by the side 
of Lothair, ' a real prince, a citizen of the world.' Vitz- 
thum also selected for praise the facility of giving the 
formulas of all the philosophical schools of the age so that 
a child might understand them. But perhaps the apprecia- 
tion of James Clay, a friend from the days of the Medi- 
terranean wanderings, pleased Disraeli most : ' You are a 
wonderful fellow to have retained the freshness and buoy- 
ancy of twenty-five.' 

Seldom has a book been anticipated with such interest 
or produced such a sensation on its first appearance. There 
was no occasion for Longman to employ the puffing tactics 
by which Colburn in Disraeli's youthful days had heralded 
the publication of Vivian Grey. A novel by an ex-Premier, 
and an ex-Premier of so strange and fascinating a type, was 
enough in itself to set the town, if not the world, agog. 
* There is immense and most malevolent curiosity about 
Disraeli's novel,' wrote Houghton. ' His wisest friends 
think that it must be a mistake, and his enemies hope that 
it will be his ruin.' The book was actually published, in 
three volumes, on Monday, May 2. But the advance de- 
mand had already kept Longman's printers busy. On April 
22, he told Disraeli that the subscription list would be about 


2,000, and that a third thousand was ready; on the 27th 
that 3,000 were bespoken and a fourth in hand ; and on the 
29th, three days before publication, that they had gone to 
press with a fifth. Four days after publication he humor- 
ously described to Disraeli the run upon his ( bankers in 
Paternoster Row.' 

From Thomas Longman. 

FARNBOROUGH HILL, HANTS, May 6, 1870. There has been a 
run upon your bankers in Paternoster Row, and our last thou- 
sand is nearly gone! We shall have another thousand in hand 
on Wednesday next. This will be the sixth thousand, and I do 
not feel quite certain we shall not be broken before Wednesday! 
I am not sure that it would not do good, now we have nearly 
5,000 in circulation. On Monday morning Mr. Mudie's house 
was, I am told, in a state of siege. At an early hour his supply 
was sent in two carts. But real subscribers, and representative 
footmen, in large masses were there before them. Mr. Mudie 
has had 700 more copies. . . . 

All the world read the book; every journal reviewed it. 
It was the principal topic of polite conversation during the 
London season: a pretty woman was even heard to bet a 
copy of Lothair on a race at Ascot. Horses, songs, and 
ships were named after the hero and heroine; a scrap in 
Disraeli's handwriting gives the following list : 

Lothair. Mr. Stevens' colt, Mr. Molloy's song by Mme. 
Sherrington, Greenwich ship, Lotbair Galloppe, Lothair Per- 
fume, Lothair Street. 

Corisande. Baron Rothschild's filly, 1 Mr. Martin's song by 
Mme. Montserrat, Durham ship, Corisande Valtz. 

Edition followed edition. The circulation was greatly 
helped by the publication of an abusive letter from one 
who conceived himself to be the original of the Oxford 
professor described in the book as ' of advanced opinions 
on all subjects, religious, social, and political ' ; ' clever, 

i Lady Beaconsfield preserved among the Beaconsfield papers the tele- 
gram by which Baron Meyer de Rothschild announced to her and 
Disraeli the victory of the famous filly Corisande in the Cesarewitch. 

166 LOTHAIK [CHAP, iv 

extremely well-informed,' but with ' a restless vanity and 
overflowing conceit ' ; ' gifted with a great command of 
words, which took the form of endless exposition, varied 
by sarcasm and passages of ornate jargon ' ; and unkind- 
est cut of all ' like sedentary men of extreme opinions, 
... a social parasite.' 

From Goldwin Smith. 

1870. In your Lothair you introduce an Oxford professor, who 
is about to emigrate to America, and you describe him as a social 
parasite. You well know that if you had ventured openly to 
accuse me of any social baseness, you would have had to answer 
for your words; but when sheltering yourself under the literary 
form of a work of fiction, you seek to traduce with impunity 
the social character of a political opponent, your expressions 
can touch no man's honour; they are the stingless insults of a 

This was, indeed, as a journalist said, l 'Ercles' vein ' ; 
and it is no wonder that Longman could write on June 9 : 
' The Oxford Professor's letter is doing its work well. So 
much so that we shall print again as soon as I have your 
corrections.' Disraeli never answered Goldwin Smith ; but 
in a letter to an American literary friend he threw an in- 
teresting sidelight on the outburst. 

To Robert Carter. 

Confidential. HUGHENDEN MANOR, Aug. 13, 1870. . . . I 
know nothing personally of Mr. Goldwin Smith. I never saw 
him. More than twenty years ago, the Peelite party who had 
purchased the Morning Chronicle, mainly to decry me and my 
friends, engaged a new hand who distinguished himself by a 
series of invectives against myself, wh. far passed the bounds 
of legitimate political hostility. I cared nothing, and have never 
cared anything, about these personal attacks, to which I have 
been subject all my life and wh. have never, in the least, arrested 
my career; but the writer, I found out many years afterwards, 
was Mr. Goldwin Smith, who was well paid for his pains. I 
don't, and never did, grudge him that: but this is hardly the 
person to inveigh against personalities and anonymous writing. 


I have sometimes brushed him aside, as I would a mosquito, 
but am always too much occupied to bear him, or any other 
insect, any ill-will. . . . 

The outbreak of the Franco-German War caused the de- 
mand, for the moment, somewhat to slacken; but with the 
appearance in November of a collected edition of Disraeli's 
novels, at 6s. a volume, having Lothair as the first volume, 
the ' Lothair-mania,' as Longman wrote, broke out again 
' with all its virulence. Twice we have printed 5,000 
copies, and now we have another 5,000=15,000, at press.' 
The book was translated into every European language, and 
the demand in Germany so far exceeded expectation 
that Baron Tauchnitz, the publisher, as Longman noted, 
' doubled, more suo, his tribute-money.' In America the 
sale was even greater than in England. Messrs. Appleton 
began by printing 25,000 copies, which were sold out in 
three days ; and in July the demand was still a thousand 
copies a day. By October 80,000 copies had been sold 
there. Disraeli proudly claimed, in the General Preface 
which he wrote for the collected edition, that the book had 
been ' more extensively read both by the people of the 
United Kingdom and the United States than any work that 
has appeared for the last half-century.' 

But if the public devoured the novel, the reviewers for 
the more critical journals and magazines were, as a rule, 
unfavourable. The Times was, indeed, highly apprecia- 
tive ; and the Pall Mall Gazette called it an ' admirable 
novel ' which ' must have cost the author, we cannot help 
fancying, no effort whatever; it was as easy and delight- 
ful for him to write as for us to read.' But the Saturday 
Review was captious, and the Edinburgh patronising; the 
Athenaeum maintained that the book would have passed 
unnoticed if written by anyone else ; while both Blackwood, 
a representative of Scottish Conservatism, and the Quar- 
terly, true as ever to its anti-Disraeli attitude, condemned 
it with the utmost severity. The latter dubbed it a ' fail- 
ure,' an ' outrage,' ' a sin against good taste and justice,' 

168 LOTHAIR [CHAP, iv 

1 a vast mass of verbiage which can seldom be called Eng- 
lish ' ; and even had the hardihood to call a book which 
contains some of Disraeli's liveliest and most satirical writ- 
ing, ' as dull as ditchwater and as flat as a flounder.' Abra- 
ham Hayward, always a malignant critic of Disraeli, wrote 
the Quarterly article ; Houghton, a ' goodnatured ' friend, 
the Edinburgh; the Blackwood attack * was from the in- 
cisive pen of the soldier-critic, Hamley. In the General 
Preface Disraeli hit some shrewd blows back; and one can 
recognise at least Houghton and Hayward in the following 
passage : 

One could hardly expect at home the judicial impartiality 
of a foreign land. Personal influences inevitably mingle in 
some degree with such productions. There are critics who, 
abstractedly, do not approve of successful books, partic\ilarly 
if they have failed in the same style; social acquaintances also 
of lettered taste, and especially contemporaries whose public life 
has not exactly realised the vain dreams of their fussy existence, 
would seize the accustomed opportunity of welcoming with 
affected discrimination about nothing, and elaborate controversy 
about trifles, the production of a friend; and there is always, 
both in politics and literature, the race of the Dennises, the 
Oldmixons, and Curls, who flatter themselves that, by syste- 
matically libelling some eminent personage of their times, they 
ihave a chance of descending to posterity. 2 

At least one later critic of undoubted competence has 
endorsed the condemnation of the contemporary reviewers. 
Sir Leslie Stephen, who showed much appreciation of the 
earlier novels, has left on record the opinion that the easiest 
assumption to make about Lothair is ' that it is a practical 
joke on a large scale, or a prolonged burlesque upon Mr. 
Disraeli's own youthful performances.' Nevertheless, the 
judgment of the world is decisive against Stephen, and 
holds, that Lothair is among the best, if not the absolute best, 

1 Manners wrote on Nov. 10: 'Did I ever tell you that in conse- 
quence of that abominable article in the summer I renounced Black- 
wood f Though you would not care for his ribaldry, perhaps you may 
like to know that your friends did.' 

2 General Preface to the novels, Oct., 1870. 


of Disraeli's novels. Mr. George Eussell expressed a grow- 
ing opinion when he declared it the author's masterpiece; 
' a profound study of spiritual and political forces at a 
supremely important moment in the history of modern 
Europe.' Lord Russell saw deep significance beneath the 
gaudy trappings, and held it to be the work of a political 
seer. Froude regarded it as ' immeasurably superior ' to 
anything of the kind which Disraeli had previously pro- 
duced; adding, ' Lothair opens a window into Disraeli's 
mind, revealing the inner workings of it more completely 
than anything else which he wrote or said.' This last ap- 
preciation is, perhaps, excessive; Tancred and Lord George 
Bentinck are more self-revealing, if only because of their 
insistence on the Jewish standpoint, which is not obtruded 
in Lothair; but Lothair takes rank beside Coningsby, and 
these two are the novels on which Disraeli's literary repu- 
tation rests with the general reader of to-day. 

The pecuniary return of Lothair was considerable. For 
the original edition of 2,000 copies Longmans paid Disraeli 
1,000 ; and together with royalties on subsequent copies 
and on the one-volume edition, and with the foreign rights 
of the book, he had received in all by the end of 1876 over 
6,000. The large sales of Lothair increased the demand 
for its predecessors, from Vivian Grey to Tancred. On 
these in the new edition Disraeli had already received over 
1,000 in royalties, when, in 1877, he came to a new ar- 
rangement with his publishers by which they paid him a 
further sum of 2,100 for the copyright of the whole ten 
volumes of novels. He was so much encouraged by his 
success that he soon made a start upon a new novel, En- 
dymion; which, however, owing to the renewal of his po- 
litical activity and his subsequent return to office, was not 
completed and published till ten years later. 

The publication of Lothair, like that of Tancred, was 
politically a hindrance rather than a help to Disraeli. The 
serious politician, like Gladstone in the Punch cartoon, 
pronounced it flippant. How could Parliamentarians be 

170 LOTHAIE [CHAP, iv 

expected to trust an ex-Premier who, when half-way between 
sixty and seventy, instead of occupying his leisure, in ac- 
cordance with the British convention, in classical, his- 
torical, or constitutional studies, produced a gaudy romance 
of the peerage, so written as to make it almost impossible 
to say how much was ironical or satirical, and how much 
soberly intended? It may be taken for granted that Dis- 
raeli's old colleagues did not know what to think of the 
book, as among the congratulatory letters preserved in the 
Beaconsfield correspondence their handwriting is markedly 
absent. This political distrust was increased by the resusci- 
tation, in the General Preface in the autumn, of all the pe- 
culiar doctrines about English history and politics, about 
Christianity and Judaism, and about religion and science, 
which the English people had found difficult of assimilation 
when propounded in Coningsby, Sybil, and Tancred, in 
Lord George Bentinck and in the Sheldonian speech, and 
many of which were even now caviare to the general. The 
whole literary performance of the year made Disraeli, the 
man, a more interesting figure than ever ; but it only deep- 
ened the doubts about Disraeli, the statesman, which the 
heavy defeat of 1868, and the apparent hopelessness of the 
Conservative cause in opposition, had aroused. 




' There are few positions less inspiriting than that of the 
leader of a discomfited party.' The words are Disraeli's 
own, from the first chapter of Lord George Bentinck, and 
they were written in reference to Russell's position in the 
Peel Parliament of 1841. But they apply with at least 
equal force to the situation which Disraeli had himself 
occupied since the General Election of 1868. Opposite 
him there had sat an overwhelming and enthusiastic ma- 
jority, who, with few exceptions, had steadily acted on the 
principle that it was their duty l to say ditto to Mr. Glad- 
stone ' as the Prime Minister pursued his strenuous career ; 
and though in the session of 1871 there had been many 
Ministerial mishaps, with the corollary of some Opposition 
victories in by-elections, yet all the efforts of the Conserva- 
tive party and the adroitness of their leader had hitherto 
been unavailing materially to improve their position and 
prospects. The Times, in a judicial leading article towards 
the close of 1871, * pronounced that anything like a per- 
manent tenure of office for the Conservatives was impos- 
sible. ' The leaders of the party do not believe in it. The 
country gives them no confidence. The majority is against 
them. All the forces of the time are strained in an oppo- 
site direction.' It was as true of Disraeli from 1869 to 
1872, as of Russell from 1841 to 1845, that 

he who in the Parliamentary field watches over the fortunes of 
routed troops must be prepared to sit often alone. Few care 
to share the labour which is doomed to be fruitless, and none 

i Nov. 20. 


are eager to diminish the responsibility of him whose course, 
however adroit, must necessarily be ineffectual. ... A dis- 
heartened Opposition will be querulous and captious. A dis- 
couraged multitude have no future; too depressed to indulge 
in a large and often hopeful horizon of contemplation, they busy 
themselves in peevish detail, and by a natural train of senti- 
ment associate their own conviction of ill-luck, incapacity, and 
failure, with the most responsible member of their confedera- 
tion. 1 

The discontent reached a climax in the winter of 1871- 
1872. The policy of reserve in opposition which Disraeli 
had on the whole maintained, and which had produced satis- 
factory results in alluring ministers into indiscretions, was 
galling to eager and impetuous spirits ; and in the previous 
session the ' Colonels ' had got out of hand in their violent 
opposition to the Army Bill, and the anti-Disraeli clique in 
their obstruction of the Ballot Bill. Complaint was made 
that, in spite of tempting opportunities afforded by Minis- 
terial blunders, Disraeli had avoided political speaking dur- 
ing the recesses, putting off from year to year the demon- 
stration in Manchester which his Lancashire friends pressed 
him to accept. His own excuse to Matthew Arnold, who 
met him at a country house party at Latimer in January, 
1872, was that ' the Ministers were so busy going about 
apologising for their failures that he thought it a pity to 
distract public attention from the proceeding.' Further, 
the publication of Lothair and of the General Preface to 
the novels had revived all the former doubts as to whether 
a Jewish literary man, so dowered with imagination, and 
so unconventional in his outlook, was the proper person 
to lead a Conservative party to victory. Would it not be 
better to go into battle under the old Stanley banner? 
Derby had gained golden opinions as Foreign Secretary, 
and had that plain common sense, love of peace, and modera- 
tion of political faith which appealed to the middle classes 
in the rapidly growing urban communities, and which might 
be expected, were he the party leader, to attract considerable 
\ Lord George Bentinck, ch. 1. 




Liberal support to the Conservative cause. The rival claims 
of Disraeli and Derby were widely discussed by politicians 
throughout the party and the country, in newspapers, clubs, 
and debating societies; though Derby made no sign what- 
ever, and there is not the smallest reason to suppose that 
he would have consented to play the part his admirers al- 
lotted to him. 

Even Disraeli's colleagues were infected with the rising 
spirit of dissatisfaction ; and no less intimate a friend than 
Cairns was the first to give it expression at a gathering of 
Conservative leaders at Burghley just before the session; 
from which gathering not only Disraeli himself, but also 
Derby, Richmond, and Malmesbury were absent. Hardy's 
diary is our authority for what took place. 

At our meeting (February 1) Cairns boldly broached the sub- 
ject of Lord Derby's lead, and the importance of Disraeli know- 
ing the general feeling. We all felt that none of his old 
colleagues could, or would, undertake such a task as informing 
him. John Manners alone professed ignorance of the feeling 
in or out of doors. I expressed my view that D. has been loyal 
to his friends, and that personally I would not say that I 
preferred Lord D., but that it was idle to ignore the general 
opinion. Noel * said that from his own knowledge he could say 
that the name of Lord Derby as leader would affect 40 or 50 
seats. . . . For my own part I do not look forward with hope 
to Derby, but I cannot but admit that Disraeli, as far as appears, 
has not the position in House and country to enable him to do 
what the other might. 2 

Northcote is not mentioned in this account; but he used 
to say that he was the only one of those present who was 
stanch to his chief, and to wonder if Disraeli knew of his 
loyalty. It may be taken for granted that none of Dis- 
raeli's colleagues informed him of the opinions expressed 
at Burghley. Apparently, however, some representation 
of the discontent of a section of his followers in the House 
of Commons was conveyed to him, and in reply he intimated 
that he would be quite ready to give place to Derby if the 

i One of the Whips. 2 Gathorne Hardy, Vol. I., p. 305. 


party wished it, but in that case he would himself retire 
below the gangway a contingency which the most re- 
calcitrant follower would hardly face. 

In any case so shrewd a judge of party feeling could not 
fail to be aware of the prevailing uneasiness ; accordingly, 
while his lieutenants were discussing his shortcomings at 
Burghley, he, as his correspondence shows, was gathering 
in his hands all the strands of a complicated political situa- 
tion, and preparing to demonstrate that he was as indis- 
pensable as he had ever been since he had imposed himself 
on his party in 1849. A rap over the knuckles for his col- 
league, the duke who led the Opposition in the Lords, was 
a clear reminder of his claims as leader especially if the 
censure was, as Hardy thought, unjust. Incidentally the 
high tone he takes shows how little disposed he was to that 
adulation of dukes, which some who misread Lothair have at- 
tributed to him. ' Talk not to me of dukes,' he burst out 
on one occasion when a duke had disappointed him ; ' dukes 
can be made ! ' He had made one himself. 

To the Duke of Richmond. 

Confidential. BURGHLEY HOUSE, STAMFORD, Jan. 11, 1872. I 
have been much engaged during the last six weeks, in corre- 
spondence with our supporters in the Ho. of Commons, as to 
their course, in the next session, respecting the ballot. The 
Lancashire members, our most powerful friends, are particularly 
embarrassed by this question: the members for the Boro[ugh]s, 
in some instances, being hard pressed by their constituents to 
support it, while, on the other hand, Mr. Cross, the M.P. for 
South Lancashire, who defeated Mr. Gladstone, moved, at bis 
own request, the absolute rejection of the Bill during the last 

This gentleman, uneasy on the matter, and requesting my 
advice, informed me, some time ago, that Lord Skelmersdale 
bad assured him, that he might' depend on the Whig peers giving 
the measure an uncompromising opposition. Not being myself 
certain of this, I advised him, in our perplexity, not to change 
his front, but not unnecessarily to dwell on the subject. 

In this state of affairs, I took advantage of being in the West 
to arrange to meet Lord Cairns at Ld. Malmesbury's, and to 


confer with him on matters in general, wh. daily assume a more 
critical character. To my astonishment, I learned from Lord 
Cairns, that your Grace had received a communication from 
Lord Russell, that our party in the House of Lords must no 
longer count on him, the Duke of Somerset, and others, as 
opponents to the ballot. Lord Cairns naturally assumed that 
your Grace had immediately apprised me of this information, 
so necessary to me for the satisfactory conduct of business. 1 

I am sure your Grace will not misconceive my meaning, when 
I express my deep regret at the habitual want of communica- 
tion, which now subsists between the leaders of our party in the 
two Houses. If my individual feelings only we're concerned, I 
should not touch upon the matter, but, with the responsibility of 
conducting difficult affairs for the common good, it is my duty 
to remark on circumstances, wh. I am sure, are fraught with 
injurious consequences to the cause, wh. we are anxious to up- 

From the Duke of Richmond. 

GOODWOOD, CHICHESTER, Jan. 12, 1872. I hope that ere this 
you will have reed, a letter which I wrote a few days aero, and 
directed to Hughenden. I enclosed a letter from Lord Russell. 

I will not conceal from you how very much annoyed I am 
to find from your letter that you consider there has been habitual 
want of communication subsisting between the leaders of our 
party in the two Houses. 

This wd. imply that I had studiously avoided acting with you. 
If this was so I should have been justly liable to censure, for I 
quite concur that, unless the leaders in both Houses act in con- 
cert and with cordiality, it is quite impossible that the business 
can be carried on in a satisfactory manner. 

I think, if you reflect, you will recollect that I was in constant 
communication with you during the last session of Parliament. 
You will recollect Cairns and I met you in the Carlton to discuss 
the American question. I also saw you frequently about the 
Army Bill and the ballot, and communicated to you at once all 
the negotiations which were then pending between me and Lord 

I did not think it necessary to trouble you with the letter 
I reed. fr. Lord Russell after I got to Scotland, but always 
intended to do so before the meeting of Parliament. It is possi- 
ble that it would have been better had I sent it to you sooner, 

i ' I shall certainly tell the Duke of R.,' wrote Malmesbury to Dis- 
'aeli on Jan. S, ' my opinion as to his want of concert with you.' 


but for some time past I have been very busy with my own affairs. 
I have deemed it right to enter into these details, because I 
am most anxious that you should be satisfied that I have not 
been guilty of any want of courtesy towards you. Indeed I 
should have hoped that our long acquaintance would have been 
sufficient to have prevented you from imagining such a thing. 
I quite appreciate the responsibility and difficulty of your posi- 
tion, and always wish to assist you by all means in my power. 

To the Duke, of Richmond. 

LATIMER, OHESHAM, Jan. 16, 1872. I have received both your 
letters, and have read the last in the spirit in wh. it is written. 

I return herewith the letter of Lord Russell, and the copy 
of his letter to Lord Lyveden. They do not appear to me to bear 
altogether the interpretation, wh. Lord Cairns placed upon them, 
or, rather, wh. I apprehended he placed upon them. 

The intimations of Lord Eussell seem to me to be altogether 
hypothetical, and to rest upon a basis, wh. he contemplated as 
probable, but wh. has not occurred, viz., ' That the country would 
support the House of Commons in asking for the ballot.' 

The country during the recess has been silent on the subject, 
and tho' many important elections have happened, and are about 
to take place, the question of the ballot seems to have no in- 
fluence upon their result. 

Lord Russell and his friends, therefore, on the reassembling 
of Parliament, are free to recur to their old grounds of opposi- 
tion to the measure, and may even do so. 

Whether such a course on their part should regulate ours, is 
another question, and wh. I would rather leave to personal 
deliberations when we are better acquainted with the exact propo- 
sitions of the Ministry. 

We must not conceal from ourselves, that the Tory party in 
the Ho. of Commons is not united on the question, and tho' 
I am not myself prepared, under any circumstances, to concede 
the principle of secret voting, as at present advised, I fear our 
ranks may be broken. 

I wish I could see the practical elements of that compromise 
wh. Lord Russell seems to contemplate. Any provision to secure 
scrutiny and prevent personation, will, according to the Radical 
view, destroy the Bill. 

Richmond showed this correspondence to his principal 
colleagues, who, while they gave him their sympathy, could 
not fail to draw their own conclusions as to the disposition 


of their chief. Cairns's comment was that after two years 
of apathy Disraeli was beginning to wake up, and fancy all 
beside were asleep. What Cairns called apathy might per- 
haps be more truly described as calculated and successful 
reserve ; but at any rate there is no doubt that Disraeli was 
awake now. 

The public question which gave him and his political 
friends at the moment most concern was the difficulty with 
the United States over the Alabama question. Disraeli 
and his Foreign Secretary, Derby, had been the first British 
statesmen in office to admit the principle of arbitration; 
and accordingly Northcote, as a leading Conservative states- 
man, had consented to take a share in negotiating in the 
previous year the Treaty of Washington which carried the 
principle into practical effect. 1 Disraeli was not satisfied 
with the conduct of the negotiations; but, at any rate, the 
terms of the treaty were so limited by the British Commis- 
sioners as to render it in their opinion ultra vires for the 
tribunal to admit and adjudicate upon those indirect claims, 
making this country responsible for the prolongation of the 
Civil War, which spread-eagle politicians in America like 
Sumner put forward, but which Derby had expressly ex- 
cluded in 1868. Great was the shock, therefore, when it 
was discovered that the American case to be submitted to 
the arbitrators embraced and insisted upon these very far- 
reaching claims as well as those specifically * growing out of 
the acts committed ' by certain vessels. 

To Lord Cairns. 

Private. GROSVENOR GATE, Jan. 27, 1872. . . . Affairs here 
are most critical and anxious. All is absorbed in the Alabama 
question. Hayward told Exmouth yesterday, that unless they 

i Lord George Hamilton in his Reminiscences says that Northcote 
accepted the task without consulting Disraeli ; but this appears to be 
a mistake, as Lord Morley in his Gladstone, Bk; VI., ch. 9, quotes a 
contemporary letter from Granville, then Foreign Secretary, to Glad- 
stone : ' I asked Northcote. . . . He said he must ask Lady North- 
cote, and requested permission to consult Dizzy. The former con- 
sented, ditto Dizzy.' 


withdraw from the arbitration, the Cabinet must break up. 
Would that they would withdraw! But can they? After hav- 
ing advised their Sovereign to ratify the treaty and in such 
haste ! 

I have not seen the foreign case, nor has Lord Derby, but 
we know its scope from those who have Cockburn, Delane, 
Ld. Stanhope and others speak of it as most masterly. North- 
cote, who has it, speaks of it disparagingly: can easily be an- 
swered, crushingly, and all that. But this is" not the point. 
Our complaint is, that it opens the indirect issue, the relinquish- 
ment of which by U.S. was our consideration for consenting 
to express regret, and dealing with the law of nations ex post 
facto. In the initiated quarters, there is no confidence in, at 
least two of, the arbitrators. They are supposed to be manage- 
able by an unscrupulous Government. Altogether I never knew 
public feeling so disturbed and dark. 

I am most anxious to see you Tuesday at 12. Perhaps North- 
cote may be here. It was impossible for me to go to Burghley, 
as I had previously declined Belvoir. At this moment I must 
be at headquarters. 

To Sir Stafford Northcote. 

Private. GROSVENOR GATE, Jan. 30, '72. . . . Cairns has 
been with me this morning. A long, but not a satisfactory, visit. 
He holds, in this with me, that the Government scheme of pro- 
testing to the arbitrators, and awaiting their judgment on the 
protest, [is] quite futile. 

They are not bound to adjudicate on the point and they will 
decline. Arbitrators, he says, always avoid unnecessary de- 
cisions, and details; and he is quite prepared, if the arbitra- 
tion is concluded, that they will give their verdict for a sum 
without apportioning the amount. 

2. He holds withdrawal from the arbitration, a clear casus 

3. He is of opinion that the treaty justifies the American 
demand, and, he says, he said as much in House of Lords last 

In such a mess of difficulties all I can see at present, is to 
counsel direct and friendly application to the Government of 
Washington. This will not be a casus belli, but I fear must end 
in that. 

The Americans will not go to war at least at present for 
there are many reasons to deter them, but they will keep the 

1872] A BLAZE OF APOLOGY' 179 

question open, and we shall still, after our sacrifices, have the 
Alabama claims, but in a worse form. . . . 

When Parliament met, Disraeli described the indirect 
claims as ' preposterous and wild/ and equivalent to * the 
tribute of a conquered people.' If the Government held 
that there was no doubt that the treaty excluded these 
claims, they must speak out calmly, frankly, and firmly, 
avoiding ' the Serbonian bog of diplomacy,' and tell the 
United States Government plainly that it was impossible to 
accept their interpretation, and that, if they maintained 
it, the treaty must be cancelled. Gladstone responded in 
a like spirit, acknowledging Disraeli's patriotic and discreet 
treatment of American questions, and insisting first that 
the terms of the treaty were absolutely clear, and secondly 
that no nation with any spirit could submit to the Ameri-' 
can demands. There is no doubt that the strong support 
which Disraeli gave to the Government materially con- 
tributed to the cause of arbitration by convincing the Ameri- 
can people that Great Britain was in earnest. The United 
States, however, made it a point of honour not to waive the 
indirect claims ; and the British Government on its side de- 
termined to adjourn the arbitration until these were aban- 
doned. But what the United States would not do as a 
Government their arbitrator, Charles Francis Adams, did 
for them. He persuaded his colleagues summarily to rule 
these claims out ; and the arbitration accordingly proceeded. 
Disraeli raised himself decidedly in public estimation by his 
conduct of this question. It was seen that there had been 
serious mismanagement by the Government to bring mat- 
ters to such a pass, and that it was highly patriotic of Dis- 
raeli to dwell but lightly on these shortcomings, and to 
strengthen Gladstone's hands at a critical moment. 

In other respects he did not spare the failures of Min- 
isters. They had lived, he said in the debate on the Ad- 
dress, during the last six months ' in a blaze of apology.' 
They would have further opportunities for defending them- 


selves in the House. ' If it is in the power of the Gov- 
ernment to prove to the country that our naval administra- 
tion is such as befits a great naval power, they will soon 
have an occasion for doing so; and if they are desirous of 
showing that one of the transcendental privileges of a 
strong Government is to evade Acts of Parliament which 
they have themselves passed, I believe, from what caught 
my ear this evening, that that opportunity will also be 
furnished them.' The last sentence referred to two pieces 
of the Prime Minister's patronage, one legal, the other 
clerical, which required a good deal of apology. In one 
case, Sir Robert Collier, the Attorney-General, had been 
appointed a paid member of the Judicial Committee of the 
Privy Council, although by statute such appointments were 
limited to those who had held judicial positions in the su- 
perior courts. A technical compliance with the law was 
effected by making Collier a Judge of the Common Pleas 
for a couple of days. In the other case, the rectory of 
Ewelme, which by statute could only be held by a member 
of Oxford Convocation, had been conferred upon a Cam- 
bridge graduate, who was thereupon technically qualified 
by being admitted to an ad eundem degree at Oxford. 
There was no suggestion in either case that an unfit person 
had been appointed; but the evasion of the plain meaning 
of the law was rendered all the more flagrant by the fact 
that the statutes regulating the two appointments had both 
been passed at the instance of Gladstone's Government in the 
preceding session of Parliament. Disraeli, who seldom in 
his maturer years mixed himself up in personal squabbles, 
took no part in the angry debates which were raised in both 
Houses on these strange proceedings; though he noted with 
satisfaction that the Collier appointment only escaped con- 
demnation in the Commons by twenty-seven votes a num- 
ber almost exactly corresponding with the number of Min- 
isters voting while in the Lords the rescue had to be 
effected by the Chancellor's own vote. 


To Montagu Corry. 

H. OF C., Feb. 16, '72.. . . On Wednesday, the Government 
had not even made a whip in the H. of C. for next Monday, and 
last night, the Ministers thinking they were going to be beaten 
by a whacking majority, like damned fools, did nothing but 
abuse the House of Lords, and deride their judgment and in- 

The old Whigs, without an exception almost, came to their 
rescue on this occasion, there having been a meeting at Brooks's 
anent, and either our men purposely stayed away from fear of 
disturbing the Ministry or were shockingly whipped, as is the 
commoner opinion: the abuse of Skelmersdale being very rife. 

He told me, the day before, the majority would be 60. Yes- 
terday evening, about 8 o'clock, that it would be between 30 and 
40, and at 12 o'clock, that it would be only ten. At J / past 12 
he was beaten apparently by two: but there was an error of one 
in the counting, and the majority was only an unit: described 
really by the Lord Chancellor, who voted for himself! Our 
friends are chapfallen, but for myself, I think the affair was 
well enough. . . . 

Disraeli's resolute and ambitious, character was not the 
only thing with which the dissatisfied pundits of the party, 
whether colleagues, members of Parliament, or wire-pullers, 
forgot to reckon; there was also the profound impression 
which his personality had made among the British people. 
For the goodwill of the democracy he had never laid him- 
self out, even when enormously extending their privileges. 
No British statesman of recent years was ever less of a 
demagogue^ With few, if striking, exceptions, it was only 
in Parliament and in Bucks that he opened his lips. 'I 
have never in the course of my life,' he said at Manchester 
in April, ' obtruded myself upon any meeting.of my fellow- 
countrymen unless I was locally connected with them, or 
there were peculiar circumstances which might vindicate 
me from the imputation of thrusting myself unnecessarily 
on their attention.' But the admiration and confidence 
which he had never courted came to him spontaneously, and 
even for a while unperceived. Gladstone had been extraor- 
dinarily popular in 1868 with an electorate which had been 


taught to believe that they owed to him that which they had 
received from Disraeli. His inexhaustible and lofty elo- 
quence, his insistence on the moral law in politics, the 
specious cries with which he garnished his electoral cam- 
paign, took captive an inexperienced constituency. But 
the constantly destructive nature of their favourite's ener- 
gies, his arrogant demeanour, his apparent indifference to 
his country's prestige, the un-English casuistry which was 
inwoven in his moral texture, and the inexplicable vagaries 
of many of his colleagues, had alienated public sympathy ; 
and that enthusiastic nature of the English people, on which 
it was Disraeli's wont to insist, led them to seek another 
object for their trust, as different as might be from him 
who had so failed them. Disraeli had for years excited 
an amused curiosity and interest; but it was as often an 
interest of repulsion as of attraction. There was now an 
awakening to the fact that his patience, his courage, his 
genius, his experience, and his patriotism constituted a 
character round which popular feeling, disappointed in its 
idol, might safely rally. 

The first outward sign of this development of opinion 
was shown in the autumn of 1871, when the youth of Liberal 
Scotland recognised Disraeli's eminence by electing him, in 
preference to Ruskin, as the Lord Rector of Glasgow Uni- 
versity. But London politicians, and probably Disraeli 
himself, first realised how strong was the popular interest 
in him on February 27, 1872, when the Prince of Wales 
went to St. Paul's to return thanks for his recovery from 
typhoid fever, and when the people had in consequence an 
unusual opportunity of singling out its favourites as they 
passed in succession along the streets. The reception of 
Gladstone was indifferent or hostile; J but that of Disraeli 
was so enthusiastic that Sir William Eraser maintains that 
it changed his destiny. Eraser writes : 

On returning from St. Paul's, Disraeli met with an over- 
powering ' ovation ' ; I should say ' triumph/ for he was in 
i See Life of Dean Church, p. 291. 


his chariot. This not only continued from the City to Waterloo 
Place; but his carriage, ascending Regent Street, turning to 
the right 1 along Oxford Street, and thence back to the Carlton 
Club, the cheers which greeted him from all classes convinced 
him that, for the day at least, a more popular man did not exist 
in England. Soon after his return I happened to pass into the 
morning room of the Carlton Club. Disraeli was leaning against 
the table immediately opposite to the glass door, wearing the 
curious white coat which he had for years occasionally put on 
over his usual dress. Familiar as I was with his looks and 
expression, I never saw him with such a countenance as he had 
at that moment. I have heard it said by one who spoke to 
Napoleon I. at Orange in France, that his face was as that of 
one who looks into another world : that is the only description 
I can give of Disraeli's look at the moment I speak of. He 
seemed more like a statue than a human being: never before 
nor since have I seen anything approaching it : he was ostensibly 
listening to Mr. Sclater Booth, now Lord Basing. In the after- 
noon I said to the latter, ' What was Disraeli talking about 
when I came into the room ? ' He replied, ' About some county 
business ; I wanted his opinion.' I said, ' I will tell you what 
he was thinking about: he was thinking that he will be Prime 
Minister again ! ' I had no doubt at the time ; nor have I ever 
doubted since. 8 L- 

The principal demonstration of Disraeli's popularity with 
the masses and of the reviving power of Conservatism was 
made at Manchester at Easter, when he and his wife paid 
that visit to his Lancashire friends which was so long 
overdue. It was, as Disraeli wrote, a ' wondrous week.' 
It opened on Easter Monday with a rousing reception by a 
holiday crowd of workers who promptly extemporised a 
human team to draw the visitors' carriage. But perhaps 
its most striking feature was an immense parade next day, 
undaunted by pitiless rain, of deputations from all the Con- 
servative Associations of the county, between two and three 
hundred in number. For each deputation the leader had 
an apt word, as one after another, with banners flying and 

i ' Eight ' is apparently a mistake for ' left.' The carriage was pre- 
sumably going to drop Lady Beaconsfield at Grosvenor Gate before 
taking Disraeli to the Carlton Club. 

2 Fraser, pp. 374-376. 


laudatory addresses in their hands, they defiled before Dis- 
raeli and Lady Beaconsfield, filling the vast dancing hall 
of the Pomona Gardens, a building reckoned to hold thirty or 
forty thousand people. 

Well might Disraeli be proud of the show, as it was the 
direct result of his own labours behind the scenes. During 
these years of reserve in opposition, when he appeared to 
colleagues and followers to be apathetic, he had been quietly 
working at Conservative reorganisation, and creating a ma- 
chine which was to lead to the victory of 1874, and to be 
the forerunner of the great party organisations of to-day. 
The arrangements for party management which he had 
originally made in the early fifties with Rose, his lawyer 
and confidential agent, and which had been continued, after 
Rose's withdrawal, with Spofforth, a member of Rose's 
firm, had been a great improvement on the chaos which 
existed before Disraeli's accession to the leadership. But, 
even with the assistance and supervision of that shrewd poli- 
tician the late Lord Abergavenny, and of a special commit- 
tee appointed ad hoc in 1868, they were wholly insufficient, 
as had been shown in the last election, for an age of house- 
hold suffrage and large popular constituencies. An entirely 
new system must be set up ; and Disraeli looked about for a 
young and ambitious Conservative who would be ready to de- 
vote the best years of his life to working out a scheme. His 
choice fell upon John Eldon Gorst, 1 a barrister, who had 
had a distinguished career at Cambridge, and had sat for a 
year or two in Parliament, but was now no longer a mem- 
ber. An authentic statement of what was done by Disraeli 
in this important sphere is furnished in a short political 
life of him written by Gorst' s son. 2 What was most wanted, 
Disraeli told his new manager, was that every constituency 
should have a suitable candidate ready in advance. To 
secure this desirable object a Central Conservative Office 

1 Afterwards Sir John Gorst, Q.C., Solicitor-General, and subse- 
quently Under-Secretary for India. 

2 See Harold Gorst's Earl of Beaconsfield, ch. 13. 


was established in Whitehall under the party manager and 
furnished with a capable staff. Then the influential Con- 
servatives in each constituency were persuaded to form local 
associations on a substantially democratic basis ; the interest 
and co-operation were sought and obtained, not merely of 
aristocratic and professional and trading classes, but also 
of the local artisans. In Lancashire, where several Con- 
servative working men's societies already existed, the idea 
was taken up with special enthusiasm. Communication was 
regularly maintained between the central office and the 
provincial associations. The central office kept a register 
of approved candidates; but instead of supplying these at 
its discretion to the constituencies, it endeavoured to get the 
local people to make their own selection. ' In registering 
candidates care was taken to note down their peculiar quali- 
fications. ... A constituency, in applying for a candidate, 
was asked to state the kind of man wanted. The party man- 
ager declined to make the selection himself, but requested 
some of the leading men in the constituency to come up and 
make their own choice. Meanwhile a list of likely men was 
compiled from the register; and, if desirable, personal in- 
terviews were arranged. By this means each place was 
provided with a candidate suitable to its political needs.' 
Finally, mainly at the suggestion of Henry Cecil Raikes, a 
coping stone was put on the edifice by the affiliation of all 
these Conservative associations to a comprehensive Na- 
tional Union. 

Though, in entrusting the business to Gorst, Disraeli 
left him a free hand, he paid nevertheless constant personal 
attention to all that was being done, and was ready to give 
his manager the benefit of his sagacity and experience at 
every stage. And when the machine was established and 
was proving its utility by the satisfactory results of the by- 
elections from 1871 onwards, he kept a careful watch on 
its working in each particular instance. Writing to a friend 
in October, 1873, he mentioned that 'after every borough 
election, an expert visits the scene of action, and prepares 


a confidential despatch for me, that, so far as is possible, I 
may be thoroughly acquainted with the facts.' One point 
he made clear from the outset, as might be anticipated from 
his insistence on accompanying his great measure of Re- 
form by a Corrupt Practices Act. He was resolved that 
no countenance whatever should be given by his new or- 
ganisation to the practice on which both parties had too often 
relied in the past, the winning of elections by bribery. 

Disraeli was thus responsible for starting the first great 
party machine, and he reaped the harvest in the victory of 
1874. But, though experience here and elsewhere seems to 
prove that party organisations are essential to democratic 
government, Disraeli's judicious admirers are hardly likely 
to claim much credit for him on the score of this feat. As 
might have been expected, the Liberals bettered the Con- 
servative example by perfecting the Birmingham caucus, 
and extending its operations to the whole country ; and the 
machine soon became so highly organised on both sides as to 
make increasingly difficult the entry into the House of 
Commons, and the continuance there, of those independent 
politicians to secure whose adhesion it was necessary for 
Governments in the past to look beyond party. Hence there 
has come a serious decline of Parliamentary control over 
Ministers ; and a great accession of power to the statesman 
or the party committee who may happen to have commanded 
at the preceding election the support of a majority in the 

The full importance of the parade of Conservative asso- 
ciations at Manchester was hardly realised at the time ; and 
attention was mainly fixed on the great meeting on the 
Wednesday evening * in the Free Trade Hall, where, with 
Derby by his side and the numerous Conservative members 
for the county on the platform, Disraeli spoke to an enthusi- 
astic audience with unflagging spirit for three hours and a 
quarter. In this effort, so tremendous for a man never 
very robust and in his sixty-eighth year, he was sustained, 

i April 3. 


H. C. Raikes tells us, by two bottles of white brandy, indis- 
tinguishable by onlookers from the water taken, with it, 
which he drank in doses of ever-increasing strength till he 
had consumed the whole ! 

The speech was an answer to the Liberal taunt that the 
Conservatives had no programme. Their programme, said 
Disraeli, was to maintain the Constitution of the country, 
because political institutions were the embodied experience 
of race. It was the cue of his critics to say that our great 
institutions, such as the Monarchy, the House of Lords, 
and the Church were as dear to Gladstone and the Liberals 
as to the Conservatives, and so their defence could not be 
appropriated by any one party. But the left wing of the 
Liberal party was in full cry both against the Church and 
against the House of Lords ; and individual Radicals, who 
could not be dismissed as nobodies, Dilke and Auberon 
Herbert, were declaiming against the heavy cost of Mon- 
archy, and comparing it unfavourably with the supposed 
cheapness of a republic. Moreover, on all these questions, 
as Disraeli pointed out, Gladstone sent forth an uncertain 
sound, avoiding, as far as might be, a distinct breach with 
even extreme followers. On each of the three threatened 
institutions, Disraeli had something to say which arrested 
attention. He maintained that the continuous prosperity of 
the country and its advance in civilisation were very largely 
due to the Throne. 

Since the settlement of [the] Constitution, now nearly two 
centuries ago, England has never experienced a revolution, 
though there is no country in which there has been so continu- 
ous and such considerable change. How is this? Because the 
wisdom of your forefathers placed the prize of supreme power 
without the sphere of human passions. Whatever the struggle 
of parties, whatever the strife of factions, whatever the excite- 
ment and exaltation of the public mind, there has always been 
something in this country round which all classes and parties 
could rally, representing the majesty of the law, the administra- 
tion of justice, and involving, at the same time, the security for 
every man's rights and the fountain of honour. 


Disraeli proceeded to explain, in language which, though 
of course general, recalled his speech about the Queen in 
the autumn, that it was a mistake to suppose that the per- 
sonal influence of the Sovereign was absorbed in the re- 
sponsibility of the Minister: and that such influence must 
increase, the longer the reign and the ^greater the experi- 
ence of the Sovereign. That, it may be added, was cer- 
tainly, in the opinion of competent statesmen, the case with 
Queen Victoria, whose influence, in spite of the increasing 
democratisation of the country, was never greater than in 
the twenty years by which she survived her favourite Min- 
ister. As to the cost of Monarchy, Disraeli pointed out 
how cheap it was, compared with the Continental scale ; and 
even compared with America, when you added together the 
salaries of the Federal Legislature and those of all the sover- 
eign legislatures of the different states that went to form 
that greatest of republics an argument, by the way, 
which has been weakened since members of Parliament here 
have accepted payment. 

With regard to the House of Lords, experience showed 
a Second Chamber to be necessary ; but with the exception 
of the American Senate, composed of materials not possessed 
by other States, no other country had solved successfully 
the problem of its constitution, whereas the House of 
Lords had developed historically, and periodically adapted 
itself to the necessities of the times. That House had the 
first quality of a Second Chamber, independence, based on 
the firmest foundation, responsible property. Would life 
peerages be as satisfactory ? A peer for life could exercise 
the power entrusted to him according to his own will ; and 
nobody could call him to account. But a peer whose dig- 
nities descend to his children had every inducement to study 
public opinion, ' because he naturally feels that if the order 
to which he belongs is in constant collision with public 
opinion, the chances are that his dignities will not descend 
to his posterity.' 

1872] SOCIAL REFORM 189 

There are some philosophers who believe that the best substi- 
tute for the House of Lords would be an assembly formed of 
ex-Governors of Colonies. . . . When the Muse of Comedy threw 
her frolic grace over society, a retired governor was generally 
one of the characters in every comedy and the last of our great 
actors . . ., Mr. Farren, was celebrated, for his delineation of 
the character in question. Whether it be the recollection of that 
performance or not, I confess I am inclined to believe that an 
English gentleman born to business, managing his own estate, 
administering the affairs of his county, mixing with all classes 
of his fellowmen, now in the hunting field, now in the railway 
direction, unaffected, unostentatious, proud of his ancestors, if 
they have contributed to the greatness of our common country 
is, on the whole, more likely to form a senator agreeable to 
English opinion and English taste than any substitute that has 
yet been produced. 

Disraeli's defence of the Church followed the lines which 
he had adopted in the sixties. He dwelt on the vital im- 
portance of connecting authority with religion, and main- 
tained that ^to have secured a national profession of faith 
with the unlimited enjoyment of private judgment in mat- 
ters spiritual is the solution of the most difficult problem, 
and one of the triumphs, of civilisation.' As a practical 
answer to the disestablishers he pointed out how powerfully 
and highly organised and wealthy a corporation the Church 
was, and must remain, whatever the conditions of dises- 
tablishment; and asked whether the severance of the con- 
trolling tie which bound such a body to the State could be 
favourable to the cause of civil and religious liberty. He 
had a great respect for the Nonconformists, and expressed 
his mortification that, from a feeling of envy or pique, they 
should have become the partisans of secular education, in- 
stead of working with the Church for religious education, 
which was ' demanded by the nation generally and by the 
instincts of human nature.' 

While expressing his belief that the working classes both 
in town and country had shared in that advance of national 
prosperity which had been favoured by the stability of 


our political institutions, he pointed to social reform as 
a sphere in which no inconsiderable results might be ob- 
tained, and gave his party a famous catchword. 

A great scholar and a great wit, 300 years ago, said that, in 
his opinion, there was a great mistake in the Vulgate, which 
as you all know is the Latin translation of the Holy Scriptures, 
and that, instead of saying ' Vanity of vanities, all is vanity ' 
Vanitas vaniiaiutn,, omnia vanitas the wise and witty King 
really said, Sanitas sanitatum, omnia sanitas* Gentlemen, it 
is impossible to overrate the importance of the subject. After 
all, the first consideration of a Minister should be the health 
of the people. 

So far Disraeli's discourse had been rather a constitu- 
tional lecture 2 than a party speech. But now he turned 
on the Government and in biting words summed up the pith 
of his charges against their proceedings. It was an Ad- 
ministration avowedly formed on a principle of violence. 
Their specific for the peace and prosperity of Ireland was 
to despoil churches and plunder landlords, with the result 
of sedition rampant, treason thinly veiled, and the steady 
return to Parliament of Home Rulers ' pledged to the dis- 
ruption of the realm.' ' Her Majesty's new Ministers pro- 
ceeded in their career like a body of men under the influ- 
ence of some deleterious drug. Not satiated with the spoli- 
ation and anarchy of Ireland, they began to attack every in- 
stitution and every interest, every class and calling in the 
country.' After giving some instances he proceeded in a 
passage which Lord Morley calls ' one of the few pieces of 
classic oratory of the century.' 

As time advanced it was not difficult to perceive that extrava- 
gance was being substituted for energy hy the Government. 
The unnatural stimulus was subsiding. Their paroxysms ended 
in prostration. Some took refuge in melancholy, and their 
eminent chief alternated between a menace and a sigh. As I 

1 Disraeli had given this watchword of Sanitas, etc., at Aylesbury 
on September 21, 1864, without much notice being taken of it. 

2 Cairns, in congratulating Disraeli on the speech, wrote: 'It will 
live and be read, not only for its sparkling vigour, but also for the deep 
strata of constitutional thought and reasoning which pervade it.' 


sat opposite the Treasury Bench the Ministers reminded me of 
one of those marine landscapes not very unusual on the coasts 
of South America. You behold a range of exhausted volcanoes. 
Not a flame flickers on a single pallid crest. But the situation 
is still dangerous. There are occasional earthquakes, and ever 
and anon the dark rumbling of the sea. 

Before concluding, Disraeli turned to foreign affairs, 
prefacing what he had to say with a few introductory sen- 
tences whose truth will be more generally acknowledged 
now than they were in the early seventies, in spite of the 
then recent lesson of the Franco-German War. 

I know the difficulty of addressing a body of Englishmen on 
these topics. The very phrase ' foreign affairs ' makes an Eng- 
lishman convinced that I am about to treat of subjects with 
which he has no concern. Unhappily the relations of England 
with the rest of the world, which are ' foreign affairs/ are the 
matters which most influence his lot. Upon them depends the 
increase or reduction of taxation. Upon them depends the 
enjoyment or the embarrassment of his industry. And yet, 
though so momentous are the consequences of the mismanage- 
ment of our foreign relations, no one thinks of them till the 
mischief occurs, and then it is found how the most vital conse- 
quences have been occasioned by mere inadvertence. 

Disraeli proceeded to condemn the weakness of the Gov- 
ernment in its dealings with Russia over the Black Sea, and 
its negligence and blundering in regard to the difficulties 
with the United States over the indirect claims; and he 
finished on the imperial note. 

Doix't suppose, because I counsel firmness and decision at the 
right moment, that I am of that school of statesmen who are 
favourable to a turbulent and aggressive diplomacy. I have 
resisted it during a great part of my life. I am not unaware that 
the relations of England to Europe have undergone a vast change 
during the century that has just elapsed. The relations of 
England to Europe are not the same as they were in the days 
of Lord Chatham or Frederick the Great. The Queen of Eng- 
land has become the Sovereign of the most powerful of Oriental 
States. On the other side of the globe there are new establish- 
ments belonging to her, teeming with wealth and population, 


which will, in due time, exercise their influence over the distribu- 
tion of power. The old establishments of this country, now 
the United States of America, throw their lengthening shades 
over the Atlantic, which mix with European waters. These are 
vast and novel elements in the distribution of power. I ac- 
knowledge that the policy of England with respect to Europe 
should be a policy of reserve, but proud reserve; and in answer 
to those statesmen, those mistaken statesmen, who have inti- 
mated the decay of the power of England and the decline of her 
resources, I express here my confident conviction that there never 
was a moment in our history when the power of England was 
so great and her resources so vast and inexhaustible. And yet, 
gentlemen, it is not merely our fleets and armies, our powerful 
artillery, our accumulated capital, and our unlimited credit on 
which I so much depend, as upon that unbroken spirit of her 
people, which I believe was never prouder of the Imperial country 
to which they belong. 

The speech and the Manchester reception at once placed 
Disraeli's leadership beyond question, and proved the re- 
ality of Conservative reaction. Sidonia's familiar words 
' The age of ruins is past. Have you seen Manchester ? ' 
had acquired a fresh significance. That Conservatism 
should have taken such a hold of Lancashire and that Man- 
chester should welcome Disraeli with such enthusiasm was 
indeed a portent. There was no more industrial district in 
England, and none where the working man was more in- 
dependent. Manchester was the home of Free Trade, 
and the hall in which Disraeli spoke was the favourite plat- 
form of Cobden and Bright during the struggle against the 
Corn Laws. Lancashire was the native county of both Glad- 
stone and Bright, the pillars of Liberalism at this period; 
and Gladstone, by political progresses through its towns in 
the sixties, had made an impassioned bid for its support. 
Both Gladstone and Bright had sat for awhile for Lancashire 
seats ; but both had been defeated and gone elsewhere. The 
great territorial Conservative influence in Lancashire was 
that of the house of Stanley, whose present head was desig- 
nated by the discontented as Disraeli's supplanter. But 
even in Lancashire Derby was ready to yield Disraeli place, 


to speak of him not merely as his ' old political colleague ' 
and ' a personal friend of more than twenty years' standing,' 
but as his ' chief/ and to bear striking testimony to his 
high qualities. ' Few leaders of men have ever been more 
successful in securing the personal confidence and sym- 
pathy and goodwill of those with whom they act, and no one 
has ever shown himself more faithful both to the obliga- 
tion of private friendship and to the honourable tie of party 
connection.' Another passage in Derby's speech at the 
meeting in the Free Trade Hall showed that the Conserva- 
tive leaders were determined not to snatch prematurely 
at power, but to wait till the disgust of the country with 
Gladstonian policy was complete. It might be the tactics 
of the Radical party to put a Conservative Government in 
office in a minority ; ' but just because it is their game it 
ought not to be ours.' The course which Disraeli took 
when Gladstone resigned over his defeat in the following 
spring on the Irish University Bill was clearly foreshadowed 
in this sagacious advice. 

To W. Romaine Callender, jun. 1 

GROSVENOR GATE, April 6, 1872. I am sure you and kind Mrs. 
Callender will be glad to hear of our safe and agreeable arrival 
at Grosvenor Gate; cheered, as far as the Potteries, by your 
enthusiastic population, which calmed, by degrees, as we entered 
less busy lands, and which, when we traversed my own country, 
was as still as became a true prophet. 

One is little disposed to do anything to-day, but it is impos- 
sible to refrain expressing to you our sense of all your kindness, 
delicate attentions, and munificent hospitality. 

We have talked of them ever since, and shall often do so ; and, 
from all I hear, this wondrous week will have no ordinary in- 
fluence on public opinion and future history. . . . 

Disraeli took another opportunity in June to review 
and inspirit his new party machine and to elaborate the 

1 Disraeli's host at Manchester and chairman of the Free Trade Hall 
meeting. He won a seat at Manchester in 1874, was selected by Dis- 
raeli to second the Address, and was offered by him a baronetcy at 
the close of 1875; but he died, prematurely, early in 1876, before the 
baronetcy had been gazetted. 


policy which he proposed to the country. This time the 
body which he addressed was the National Union, the 
central society to which the Conservative and Constitutional 
associations throughout the country were affiliated. Speak- 
ing, on June 24, to this representative audience at a banquet 
at the Crystal Palace he laid it down that the Tory party 
had three great objects : to maintain our institutions, to up- 
hold the Empire, and to elevate the condition of the people. 
On the first he had dwelt at considerable length at Man- 
chester, and he added little that was fresh at the Crystal 
Palace. With regard to social reform, Liberals had scoffed 
at his proposals as a ' policy of sewage ' ; but to a working 
man, Disraeli maintained, it was a policy of life and death. 
It was, he said, a large subject, with many branches. 

It involves the state of the dwellings of the people, the moral 
consequences of which are not less considerable than the physi- 
cal. It involves their enjoyment of some of the chief elements 
of nature air, light, and water. It involves the regulation 
of their industry, the inspection of their toil. It involves the 
purity of their provisions, and it touches upon all the means by 
which you may wean them from habits of excess and of brutality. 

But the part of his speech which struck the highest note 
was that which associated Conservatism with the main- 
tenance of Empire. His Reform Act of 1867, he said, was 
founded on the confidence that the great body of the people 
were conservative in the purest and loftiest sense; that the 
working classes were proud of belonging to a great country, 
and wished to maintain its greatness ; that they were proud 
of belonging to an Imperial country, and resolved to main- 
tain their Empire. What was the record of Liberalism 
in regard to Empire, and what ought to be Conservative 
policy ? 

If you look to the history of this country since the advent of 
Liberalism forty years ago you will find that there has been 
no effort so continuous, so subtle, supported by so much energy, 
and carried on with so much ability and acumen, as the attempts 
of Liberalism to effect the disintegration of the Empire of Eng- 


land. And, gentlemen, of all its efforts, this is the one which 
has been the nearest to success. Statesmen of the highest char- 
acter, writers of the most distinguished ability, the most organ- 
ised and efficient means, have been employed in this endeavour. 
It has been proved to all of us that we have lost money by our 
Colonies. It has been shown with precise, with mathematical 
demonstration, that there never was a jewel in the Crown of 
England that was so truly costly as the possession of India. 
How often has it been suggested that we should at once emanci- 
pate ourselves from this incubus! Well, that result was nearly 
accomplished. When those subtle views were adopted by the 
country under the plausible plea of granting self-government 
to the Colonies, I confess that I myself thought that the tie was 
broken. Not that I for one object to self-government; I cannot 
conceive how our distant Colonies can have their affairs ad- 
ministered except by self-government. 

But self-government, in my opinion, when it was conceded, 
ought to have been conceded as part of a great policy of Imperial 
consolidation. It ought to have been accompanied by an Im- 
perial tariff, by securities for the people of England for the 
enjoyment of the unappropriated lands which belonged to the 
Sovereign as their trustee, and by a military code which should 
have precisely defined the means and the responsibilities by which 
the Colonies should be defended, and by which, if necessary, 
this country should call for aid from the Colonies themselves. 
It ought, further, to have been accompanied by the institution 
of some representative council in the metropolft, which would 
have brought the Colonies into constant and continuous relations 
with the Home Government. All this, however, was omitted be- 
cause those who advised that policy and I believe their con- 
victions were sincere looked upon the Colonies of England, 
looked even upon our connection with India, as a burden upon 
this country; viewing everything in a financial aspect, and 
totally passing by those moral and political considerations which 
make nations great, and by the influence of which alone men are 
distinguished from animals. 

Well, what has been the result of this attempt during the reign 
of Liberalism for the disintegration of the Empire? It has 
entirely failed. But how has it failed? Through the sympathy 
of the Colonies for the Mother Country. They have decided 
that the Empire shall not be destroyed; and in my opinion no 
Minister in this country will do his duty who neglects any oppor- 
tunity of reconstructing as much as possible our Colonial 
Empire, and of responding to those distant sympathies which 


may become the source of incalculable strength and happiness 
to this land. 

That is the famous declaration from which the modern 
conception of the British Empire largely takes its rise. In 
it Disraeli struck a chord that immediately echoed round the 
Colonies, India, and the Dependencies; and the reverbera- 
tion has never ceased. The time could not be far dis- 
tant, he prophetically told his hearers, when England would 
have to decide between national and cosmopolitan principles. 
In their fight against Liberalism or the Continental system 
Conservatives would have against them those who had en- 
joyed power for nearly half a century; but still they could 
rely, he said in sonorous Disraelian language, on ' the sub- 
lime instincts of an ancient people.' 

The issue is not a mean one. It is whether you will be content 
to be a comfortable England, modelled and moulded upon Con- 
tinental principles and meeting in due course an inevitable fate, 
or whether you will be a great country, an Imperial country, a 
country where your sons, when they rise, rise to paramount 
positions, and obtain not merely the esteem of their countrymen, 
but command the respect of the world. 

Lord Morley remarks of Disraeli's watchwords of Em- 
pire and Social Reform, that * when power fell into his hands 
he made no single move of solid effect for either social re- 
form or imperial unity/ 1 whereas it was Gladstone's wont 
to embody policy in Parliamentary Bills. The statement 
is very far from being accurate, and subsequent chapters 
of this biography will show what a material contribution 
both to social welfare and to imperial consolidation was made 
by the Beaconsfield Government of 1874. But it is, of 
course, true that many of Disraeli's most fertile ideas did 
not issue in Bills; and as a practical politician he must in 
this respect yield place to Gladstone. It is, however, pre- 
cisely the fact that Gladstone seldom or never played with 
political ideas which could not be enclosed within the com- 
pass of a Bill that marks his inferiority as a statesman and 
i Gladstone, Bk. VI., ch. 8. 


explains his diminishing hold on the present generation; 
and it is precisely the fact that Disraeli did allow his mind 
such free play that is his greatest praise in our eyes and that 
will insure his fame with those who come after us. 

Between Manchester and the Crystal Palace Disraeli 
had another proof of his growing popularity. He attended, 
along with a crowd of distinguished personages, the Literary 
Fund dinner, in order to support a reigning Sovereign in 
the chair, Leopold II., King of the Belgians. Writing to 
Corry a day or two afterwards, he said : ' The demon- 
stration at the Literary Fund meeting was equal to Man- 
chester. The mob consisting of Princes, Ainbassadors, 
wits, artists and critics ! ' His speech in proposing the 
King's health was one of his happiest. It was a charming 
and delightful inconsistency, he said, that the republic of 
letters should be presided over by a monarch; let them 
meet it by an inconsistency as amiably flagrant, and give 
their Sovereign Chairman a right royal welcome. Hia 
description of Belgium, and of the policy which guaranteed 
its independence and neutrality, has a special interest to- 

Forty years ago a portion of Europe, and one not the least 
fair, seemed doomed by an inexorable fate to permanent depend- 
ence and periodical devastation. And yet the condition of that 
country were favorable to civilisation and human happiness; a 
fertile soil skillfully cultivated, a land covered with beautiful 
cities and occupied by a race prone alike to liberty and religion, 
and always excelling in the fine arts. In the midst of a European 
convulsion, a great statesman resolved to terminate that deplor- 
able destiny, and conceived the idea of establishing the inde- 
pendence of Belgium on the principle of political neutrality. 
The idea was welcomed at first with sceptical contempt. But 
we who live in the after generation can bear witness to its 
triumphant success, and can take the opportunity of congratu- 
lating that noble policy which consecrated to perpetual peace the 
battlefield of Europe. 

Disraeli's political activities in this spring of 1872 were 
almost entirely confined to his two great extra-Parliamentary 


appearances. He was much shocked in February to re- 
ceive the news of the murder of his friend Mayo, the Viceroy 
of India, in the Andaman Islands. 

To Lady Beaconsfield. 

Feb. 12, '72. Horrible news from India! Lord Mayo assas- 
sinated and dead! The enclosed telegram is from Robert 
Bourke ! 

Shall be home pretty early. 

Quite shaken to the centre. Gladstone announced it: I said 
a few words. 

' G. GATE, April 26, '72. Last night was very damaging to the 
Government : 1 a family quarrel, in which we did not interfere, 
except on the part of Ball, who could scarcely be silent. Bou- 
verie in fierce opposition; and though the affair ended without 
a vote, as was inevitable, the Government most unnecessarily 
blundered into a signal defeat at the end of the night. . . . 

May 7. Last night the Government received a great, and 
unexpected, blow : Gordon's resolution 2 having been carried to 
the surprise of both sides! The cheering exceeded even that on 
the Ballot Clause. . . . 

To Lord Derby. 

GROSVENOR GATE, May 3, 1872. My suggestion of identical 
subscriptions from [Mayo's] colleagues found no favor. It was 
thought to be an idea, perhaps, suited to colleagues in a Ministry, 
who then can frame a tariff according to their salaries, but was 
not deemed applicable to existing circumstances. Our late 
colleagues are like Martial's epigrams: some rich, some poor, 
some moderate, so they prefer subscribing according to their 
means, or their inclination. . . . 

The ballot was again seriously damaged in Ho. of Comm. 
last night, and we supported the Govt. and the Whigs against 
an infuriated Mountain. . . .^ 

The Ballot Bill was the main occupation of the session; 
and as Disraeli's object, in view of divided opinions in his 
party, was to get the question settled, he maintained a 
rigorous silence while it was running a troubled course 

1 A debate on a University Tests (Dublin) Bill, in which independent 
Liberals like Fawcett, Playfair, and Bouverie strongly attacked the 

2 On the Scottish Education Bill. The Government was defeated by 
7; 216 to 209. 

1872] BALLOT BILL 199 

through the House. His policy was to take care that the 
Liberals should not have a popular grievance to exploit, a 
popular cry on which to dissolve, either through the failure 
of the Bill in the Commons owing to Tory obstruction or 
through its rejection on second reading by the Lords. But 
he hoped that amendments making the Bill optional would 
be secured in the Lords by the pressure of a unanimous 
Tory party aided by Kussell and the old Whigs. This 
programme was duly carried out, and when the Bill was 
returned amended to the Commons Disraeli broke his silence 
to defend the fantastic plan of optional secrecy. But the 
Commons would have none of it; and in the Lords, the 
Duke of Northumberland, at the head of a body of inde- 
pendent Conservatives, averted a struggle between the two 
Houses by supporting the motion not to insist upon the 
amendment. Disraeli was rather put out at the way in 
which the matter had been bungled. 

To Lord Derby. 

GROSVENOR GATE, June 20, 1872. I was in hopes I might have 
met you somewhere yesterday, and had a few minutes' conver- 
sation with you re Ballot Bill (H. of Lords) wh. seems to me 
in an unsatisfactory position. 

When the Duke of Richmond called on me to confer on his 
alternative propositions to throw out the Bill on the 2nd 
reading, or to make it permissive in Committee, I assented to 
the latter scheme on the very distinct conditions that it shd. be 
sanctioned by the unanimous assent of the party, and especially 
of yourself. The Duke subsequently wrote to me, that he had 
conferred with you, Ld. Salisbury, and others, and that you had 
unanimously adopted the latter scheme. 

But it seems there must have been some terrible mistake on 
this head, as I observe you did not vote on the occasion, and 
it is now rumored, that you disapprove of the proposal. 

Unless the Duke is supported, the Ballot Bill will pass, wh. 
neither the House of Comm. nor the country desire. It is im- 
possible for the Duke to recede from his position ; it would make 
him ridiculous and totally unable in future to pretend to control 
affairs. Lord Russell sanctioned the move, and still is of opinion, 
that we shd. not recede from the ground we have, after delibera- 
tion, occupied. Whether the Duke is beaten or not, his character 


and the repute of the party demand that he shall be firm. All 
that important and influential section who were in favor of 
throwing out the Bill on the 2nd reading, at least on our side, 
would be outraged, if there were any transaction or compromise, 
wh. secured the virtual passing of the Government measure. 

I hope, therefore, you will gravely consider these critical cir- 
cumstances, for, tho' the Duke of Richmond, publicly and 
privately, must make every effort to rally his forces for the 
occasion, there is no doubt those exertions will be considerably 
neutralised if you are the avowed opponent of his proceedings. 

July 12. Thanks for your letter, wh. is full of good stuff ; 
I. think we may raise a flame, wh. will well occupy the lieges 
during the recess, and sustain the unpopularity of the Ministry. 

The ballot in your house was a sad business. Nothing but 
unanimity could justify our course. I think it was the right 
one, and that throwing out the Bill on the second reading (even 
if it cd. be done) would have raised an agitation against 
the House of Lords on the ground of their purely obstructive 

The Duke of Northumberland shd. be asked why, after having 
attended the two meetings at D. of Richmond's in silence, 
interpreted as assent, he shd. have led the defection? Had he 
spoken out at the meetings and been supported, the course might 
have been changed. 

The truth is, I fancy, he, and his following, and all others, 
were satisfied enough at the time, but got frightened afterwards 
by the articles in The Times, wh. laughed at them the next day 
for their pains. 

However, the mischief is done, and our only consolation must 
be, that the Government wh. first appeals to the country on 
the secret suffrage, will, in all probability, be cashiered. 

One serious rebuff which the Government received in 
this session must have given Disraeli peculiar satisfaction. 
When he had assumed the leadership in the spring of 1849 
he had made it his principal object to endeavour to convince 
Parliament of the injustice suffered by the landed interest 
in having charged upon it the whole of the local rates. 
Kates, he had pointed out, were raised for national as well 
as for local objects, and benefited the whole community and 
not merely the owners and occupiers of real property. Now 
that the State had withdrawn protection from the landed 

1872-1873] RATING REFORM 201 

interest, they had a right, he had argued, to have this in- 
justice redressed. The argument impressed the House at 
the time, and the majorities against Disraeli's motions be- 
came smaller with succeeding years. But little or nothing 
had been actually done in this direction in Parliaments 
where Disraeli never had a majority; and fresh charges 
had been constantly put upon the rates, while the actual 
administration was largely withdrawn from local control. 
Sir Massey Lopes, a substantial county member who had 
made a special study of the question, carried this session 
against the Government, by a majority of no less than a 
hundred, a motion that 2,000,000 worth of these charges, 
dealing with the administration of justice, police, and luna- 
tics, should be placed on the Consolidated Fund. Disraeli 
strongly urged that the reform was five and twenty years 
overdue, while the burdens on real property had greatly 
increased, and, with the urgent claims of public education 
and public health, must increase still further. In spite of 
the adverse vote, the Government shirked their respon- 
sibility; accordingly, the relief which Disraeli had pleaded 
for in his first days of leadership he was himself to be the 
Minister to grant. 

The Government were damaged less by their defeat on 
Lopes's motion than by their success in carrying a much- 
needed measure, the Licensing Act, which irritated a power- 
ful trade and interfered with the habits of countless in- 
dividuals. Their unpopularity was increased in the autumn 
by the blow to British pride involved in the swingeing 
damages awarded to the United States by the Geneva arbi- 
trators in respect of the Alabama dispute. The loss of 
Ministerial seats at by-elections continued. Consequently, 
though Disraeli, absorbed by domestic sorrow, 1 did not 
resume his pungent attacks between the close of the 1872 
session and the opening of the next, Ministers met Parlia- 
ment in February, 1873, with a tarnished reputation and 
clouded prospects, and promptly received a stunning blow 
i See below, ch. 6. 


from which they never properly recovered. The task be- 
fore them in the session was obviously a perilous one. 
Gladstone, who had already carried, with the full force of 
an unimpaired majority, two great Irish Bills, was about 
to venture, with his majority much less under control, on 
a third. This time he was to deal with that University 
question which his rival had in hand when he himself 
overtrumped him with disestablishment. Once again Man- 
ning was deep in the counsels of a British Premier hopeful 
of finding a solution; and he was to mislead Gladstone as 
he had misled Disraeli. Disraeli's letters show us the hopes 
and fears of the Opposition. 

To Montagu Corry. 

H. OF 0., Feb. 10, '73. Lord Derby on Saturday seemed to 
think a crisis was at hand, and rather regretted going away 
(which, by tbe bye, Cairns is also doing). D. said 'You can 
telegraph for me.' . . . 

Feb. 11. I wrote you a wretched scrawl yesterday from H. of 
C. in a miserable state, and am not much better to-day. 

From wbat I gathered from Robert Montagu, coached by 
Manning, I should think Gladstone's scheme will do. I infer 
something like this. Trinity Coll. to be no longer a University, 
but to retain a considerable endowment. The Romans not to 
be endowed. Tbe Peel Colleges to be abolished. An Examining 
Board a /2 Catholic and l /z Protestant; but Cath. under-grads. 
to be examined only on those subjects and in that manner the 
priesthood approves and, of course, by the Cath. moiety of ex- 

They say G. is to make the greatest speech to-morrow he has 
yet accomplished. . . . 

Feb. 15. I have been in a state of coma for the last few days 
and bave been unable to write. Indeed, it is only tbe recol- 
lection that it is Saturday, which forces me to this feebleness. 
Everything seems to have calmed down again, and I see no move- 
ment for the next fortnight. . . . 

I conclude there will be no attempt to oppose the 2nd reading 
of the Bill, tbougb there will be a considerable debate tbereon: 
and in Committee, though nothing ever succeeds in Committee, 
tbere will be an effort to establish the Professorships of Philoso- 
phy and History, and perhaps to reconstruct the Governing 
Council. . 


Feb. 18. There is to be a council at my rooms on Saturday 
re Ir. Univ. Bill. . . . 

Feb. 22. We had our meeting this morning ; it was very long 
and very troublesome. We came to a conclusion, as a Home 
Ruler has given notice of opposing 2nd reading, to encourage 
and carry on a great debate for three nights, if possible, and, 
in th.? course of it, to announce, that we should move resolutions 
on going into Committee. 

I should not be surprised if Fawcett gives notice of resolu- 
tions at once in much the same spirit, speculating on the Home 
Ruler relinquishing his purpose. . . . 

Feb. 25. . . . There is a feeling in the air, that the 3rd branch 
of tKe Upas-tree will still blast Celtic society. As Ball says, 
if the Bill is got rid of, no party in the country, and neither side 
of the House, will ever hear of the question again: for, in fact, 
it is all humbug. . . . 

12, GEORGE ST., Feb. 27. I had an interesting letter from Lord 
Derby yesterday, anxious about the Irish Bill, and impressing 
upon me, that, if wanted, he could be here in 4 and 20 hours. 
He dined with Thiers, whom he found very old, feeble, with a 
cracked voice, but warming up into animation as he talked on; 
never alluding even to domestic affairs, but expatiating on every 
point of foreign. . . . He seemed to think dissensions must soon 
break out between Prussia and Bavaria, and repeatedly said that 
the first and, indeed, only object for France was the reorganisa- 
tion of her army : ' not that we wanted war, etc., but nobody 
knew what might happen, and we must be prepared.' . . . 

I am now going down to the House, walking; as the air is 
clear and the wind westerly. . . . 

March 1. . . . There is no news, except a general impression 
that Gladstone will withdraw his Bill. So Lord Stanhope told 
me this morning at British Museum: but I doubt it. He will 
not like losing the opportunity of self-vindication in many 

To Gathorne Hardy. 

Saturday, March 8, 1873. I thought your speech excellent, 
and so, I observe, does the Spectator to-day; no mean Parlia- 
mentary critic. 

It was a hard trial to get up at midnight, as I know from 
experience but all the things you omitted to say will come into 
another speech, and had you not demonstrated, the effect wd. 
have been most injurious. 

I was very glad that you alluded to a Gladstone dissolution 


as ultimately inevitable, and that you spoke out to Knightley. 1 
He belongs to a clique, who think we have no single object in 
the world but place and patronage; little suspecting, that for 
four years we have, for the sake of the country, and especially 
for the Tory party, unceasingly labored to prevent a premature 

The fever of my attack seems to have subsided, but I am very 

As the letters suggest, Gladstone's scheme sounded very 
plausible when set forth by himself in one of those exegetical 
discourses in which no other Parliamentarian could compare 
with him; but it would not stand critical examination. 
Protestant feeling was offended by the constitution of the 
governing body of the new University, which was such that, 
in Lord Morley's euphemistic words, ' it did not make 
clerical predominance ultimately impossible.' In spite of 
this prospect, the Irish Bishops were offended by the main- 
tenance of the principle of mixed education, in which 
Protestant colleges and students were to stand side by side 
with Roman Catholic colleges and students ; and ultimately 
Cardinal Cullen refused and denounced the offer. Those 
who realised what a University meant and cared for the 
interests of higher education, of whom Fawcett was the 

i Sir Rainald Knightley (afterwards Lord Knightley), of Fawsley, 
M.P. for South Northants, a squire of long descent, high honour, many 
prejudices, and some Parliamentary capacity, was an irreconcilable 
member of the anti-Disraeli Tory clique, and only supported the Oppo- 
sition leaders by his vote on this occasion because he was satisfied 
from Hardy's speech and conversation that they would not take office 
till after a dissolution. A story which Lady Knightley tells, in her 
Journals, p. 240, of the origin of her husband's feeling towards Dis- 
raeli, suggests that a plentiful lack of humour had much to do with 
Tory mistrust of their witty and sardonic chief. ' I asked Rainald 
to-day,' writes Lady Knightley on March 15, 1873, ' when he first began 
to distrust [Disraeli]. He said, "Very soon after I came into Par- 
liament, I was desired by the Whip to do all I could to get our men 
to vote against the Government on some question not a very im- 
portant one on which they seemed to me to be in the right. How- 
ever, I trusted our leader, and thought he probably knew more about 
it than I did, so I did as I was bid. When we got into the lobby, we 
found ourselves in a minority, upon which Disraeli said, 'There! 
we've sacrificed our characters, and voted wrong, and haven't beat the 
Government after all ! ' " Comment, I think,' adds Lady Knightley, 
' is superfluous.' It is indeed. 


most prominent representative, were disgusted by the pro- 
hibition of any University teacher in theology, modern 
history, or mental and moral philosophy ; and by the liability 
of all teachers to suspension or deprivation for giving offence 
to religious convictions. The impracticability of the scheme 
as it stood was so patent that Ministers were reduced to 
endeavouring to obtain support by suggesting that large 
amendments could be made in Committee, and by dwelling 
on the threat that they would treat the second reading as a 
vital matter. 

Disraeli in his speech on the last night of the debate 
declined to put any confidence in these unconfirmed hints 
of Committee amendments, and protested against the threat 
of resignation. No one wished to disturb Gladstone in his 
place, but it was the duty of members to say distinctly 
whether they could approve this particular measure. It 
proposed to found a University which was not universal, and 
in an age when young men prattled about protoplasm and 
young ladies in gilded saloons unconsciously talked atheism, 
to prohibit the teaching of philosophy! He chaffed Glad- 
stone about the ' anonymous persons ' who were to consti- 
tute the council of the new University. He vindicated his 
own policy of concurrent endowment in 1868, a policy which 
had been steadily pursued by statesmen of all parties down 
to that date, but had then been killed by Gladstone. ' The 
right hon. gentleman says I burnt my fingers on that occa- 
sion, but,' said Disraeli, holding out his hands across the 
floor of the House amid general amusement, ' I see no scars.' 
He continued : 

The right hon. gentleman, suddenly I impute no motive, 
that is quite unnecessary changed his mind, and threw over 
the policy of concurrent endowment, mistaking the clamour of 
the Nonconformists 1 for the voice of the nation. The Roman 
Catholics fell into the trap. They forgot the cause of Univer- 
sity education in the prospect of destroying the Protestant 
Church. The right hon. gentleman succeeded in his object. He 

i Another reading has ' the Nonconformist ' the newspaper organ 
of the Dissenters. 


became Prime Minister of England. . . . The Roman Catholics 
had the satisfaction of destroying the Protestant Church of 
disestablishing the Protestant Church. They had the satisfac- 
tion before the year was over of witnessing the disestablishment 
of the Roman Catholic Church at Rome. As certain as that 
we are in this House, the policy that caused the one led to the 
other. . . . The Roman Catholics, having reduced Ireland to 
a spiritual desert, are discontented and have a grievance; and 
they come to Parliament in order that it may create for them a 
blooming Garden of Eden. 

And then Disraeli proceeded to one of those attacks on 
the general tendency of Gladstonian policy which were be- 
ginning to sink deeply into the national mind. Gladstone, 
he said, had substituted a policy of confiscation for the 
policy of concurrent endowment : 

You have had four years of it. You have despoiled churches. 
You have threatened every corporation and endowment in the 
country. You have examined into everybody's affairs. You 
have criticised every profession and vexed every trade. No one 
is certain of his property and nobody knows what duties he may 
have to perform to-morrow. 

Gladstone, in reply, urged Parliament to go on in its 
work of bringing justice to Ireland in spite of the perverse- 
ness of those whom it was attempting to assist; but the 
House realised the absurdity of proceeding with proposals 
repudiated by Catholics as well as by Protestants. The 
division was taken after two o'clock on the morning of 
Wednesday, March 12. Ministers were beaten by 3 votes, 
the numbers being 287 to 284. They had a small majority 
among the English members, and a large majority among 
the Scotch; but the Irish voted 68 to 15 against them. 
1 The Irish Romans,' wrote Hardy in his diary, ' voted 
against Gladstone in a body, but it was utterly wrong of 
Gladstone to taunt us, for our opposition long preceded 
theirs, and there was no compact whatever. And now 
what will follow? I doubt not Gladstone will try to force 
us in, but in vain. It is neither our duty nor our interest 
to dissolve Parliament for him ? and I cannot admit the 


right of any Government to make any question they please 
vital, and, if a combination negatives, to force upon one 
portion of it all the responsibility.' 

Hardy's opinion, thus recorded decisively at the first 
moment in his diary, was the one which prevailed with 
Disraeli and his colleagues. In truth the situation had 
been anticipated; and, though two of Disraeli's most im- 
portant colleagues, Derby and Cairns, were abroad, he had 
ascertained from them before they went their unwillingness 
to accept office in the event of such a contingency as had 
occurred. The Beaconsfield papers contain the following 
scrap in Derby's handwriting: 

If it is only contended that Mr. D. before announcing his 
decision, ought to have maturely considered the circumstances 
and consulted with his friends, the answer is that he had done 
so already in anticipation of what for the last six weeks was a 
possible and not improbable contingency. 

Hardy and Richmond went to see their chief on the 
morrow of the division, and there was an agreement between 
them all in this sense, though apparently Disraeli's Socratic 
method suggested to Hardy that he had a doubt on the 
subject. The upshot of the talk of the three colleagues was 
that the impracticability of office was so clear that Disraeli 
might decline without further consultation. 

Meanwhile there was some hesitation in the Ministerial 
camp, and it required a couple of Cabinet Councils, one 
on the Wednesday and one on the Thursday, to bring them 
to resignation. 

To Lord Beauchamp. 

Thursday, March 13. I have had a good nigbt, except dis- 
turbed too much by my cough, which must be again attended to. 
I neglected remedies in the anarchy of yesterday. 

What is going to take place? And what is the 2nd Cabinet 
about? Our friend cannot even resign in the usual manner, I 
was in hopes yesterday that the Q. had not accepted his resigna- 
tion as in my case, which would have solved many knots, and 
that we should have an early dissolution on his part; but the 
ambiguous voices of the oracles this morning perplex me. 


The second Cabinet, however, decided for resignation ; 
Gladstone saw the Queen in the early afternoon of the 
Thursday, and announced the fact in Parliament at 4.30. 
Disraeli was stopped in the lobby, as he was entering the 
House of Commons, by a message from the Palace. 

From Queen Victoria. 

BUCKINGHAM PALACE, March 13, 1873. Mr. Gladstone has 
just been here and has tendered his resignation and that of all 
his colleagues in consequence of the vote of the House of Com- 
mons on Tuesday night which the Queen has accepted. She 
therefore writes to Mr. Disraeli to ask him whether he will 
undertake to form a Government. 

The Queen would like to see Mr. Disraeli at 6 or as soon 
after as possible. 

She sends this letter by her private secretary, Colonel Pon- 
sonby, who can be the bearer of any written or verbal answer 
from Mr. Disraeli. 

The Queen herself drew up a memorandum to describe 
what passed at the audience which followed. 

Memorandum by Queen Victoria. 

BUCKINGHAM PALACE, March 13, 1873. Mr. Disraeli came at 
a little after 6. After expressing my feeling for him in his 
sorrow and shaking hands with him, I said I had sent for him 
in consequence of last night's vote; and he asked whether I 
wished him to give a categorical answer, or to say a few words 
on the present state of affairs. I said I should willingly hear 
what he had to say. 

He then went on to say that he had not expected the vote; 
he had thought, after Mr. Cardwell's speech, the Government 
would have a majority. That the Conservative party never 
was more compact or more united; that there was the most 
perfect understanding between him and all those who had served 
with him, and especially named Ld. Derby, Ld. Cairns, Mr. 
Hardy, and Sir S. Northcote. That he was perfectly able to 
form a Government at once, perfectly fit to carry on the adminis- 
tration of the country to my entire satisfaction ; that he could 
command 280 votes ; that since, as he said, ' I had left your 
Majesty's immediate service, for I never consider myself out 
of your Majesty's service,' the party had gained considerably, 
about thirty seats; that he had laboured to keep the party as 


much together and in as efficient a state as possible; but that it 
would be useless to attempt to carry on the Government with a 
minority in the House of Commons, and that he must therefore 
state his inability to undertake to form a Government in the 
present Parliament. 

What was then to be done ? I asked. ' Mr. Gladstone ought 
to remain in and continue to carry on the Government.' This, 
I said, I thought he very likely would object to, having declared 
his views so strongly on this measure. This was a mistake, Mr. 
Disraeli replied, and he ought never to have done so. That 
might be so or not, I said, but anyhow Mr. Gladstone did feel 
this, and did not ask for a dissolution, therefore I thought it 
doubtful whether he would consent to resume or continue in 
office, feeling he could not submit to this vote. ' But he has 
condoned for it by his resignation and readiness to give up 
power,' was the answer ; that he should not throw up office merely 
for this vote ; it would not be a good return to the present Parlia- 
ment, which had supported him so warmly, and in which he had 
carried 3 great measures, for so he must call them, though he 
might not agree with them. I again asked him what I was to 
say to Mr. Gladstone, and he repeated that ' I decline to form a 
Government in the present Parliament, and I do not ask for a 

Of course, he said, there were instances where a Sovereign 
had been left without a Government, and in such a case he 
would, of course, be ready to serve me. I said that I would 
at once let Mr. Gladstone know, but that I might have to call 
upon him again. 

Disraeli, in giving Hardy afterwards an account of his 
audience, added that the Queen's ' cordiality was marked/ 
and that ' she manifested, as he thought, a repugnance 
to her present Government.' To Beauchamp he wrote: 
' I had a more than gracious reception ; and, if Her Majesty 
were leader of the Opposition, I believe this morning she 
would be First Lord of her own Treasury.' The Queen 
at once sent Ponsonby to Gladstone with an account of what 
had passed, adding, ' She considers this as sending for you 
anew/ But Gladstone suspected a trick and told Ponsonby 
that he ' thought Mr. Disraeli was endeavouring, by at 
once throwing back on me an offer which it was impossible 
for me at the time and under the circumstances to accept, 


to get up a case of absolute necessity founded upon this 
refusal of mine, and thus, becoming the indispensable man 
and party, to have in his hands a lever wherewith to over- 
come the reluctance and resistance of his friends, who would 
not be able to deny that the Queen must have a Govern- 
ment.' To Gladstone Disraeli was the wily mystery-man, 
and the simple reasoning which had led his rival to decline 
did not appear at all adequate to one who was determined 
to find some deep calculation in all that rival did. Accord- 
ingly, Gladstone asked, through Ponsonby, that Disraeli's 
reply might be put in writing. 

Memorandum in Colonel Ponsonby's Handwriting. 

March 13, 1873. Colonel Ponsonby called on Mr. Disraeli 
in the evening with a message from the Queen, asking him to 
give Her Majesty, in writing, the substance of his conversation 
with the Queen. 

Mr. Disraeli willingly complied with Her Majesty's wishes, 
and wrote down roughly the chief points on which he had spoken. 

Colonel Ponsonby asked Mr. Disraeli if he might assume that 
this meant an unconditional refusal. Mr. Disraeli replied that 
such was the meaning in the present state of affairs. 

Colonel Ponsonby asked, if the Queen was ready to sanction 
a dissolution as soon as possible, whether Mr. Disraeli could 
then accept office, taking, of course, the responsibility of giving 
the advice to Her Majesty to dissolve. 

Mr. Disraeli replied that he could not accept office with such 
an understanding, and that his refusal was absolute. 

He hoped in some future day, when another Parliament 
assembled, to find an opportunity of serving the Queen, but 
with the present House of Commons with a large majority 
opposed to him, he could not undertake the Government. 

Such was the official report, certified by Disraeli to be 
correct, which Ponsonby made to the Queen. But Pon- 
sonby drew up a longer and more detailed account of what 
took place, which shows more clearly Disraeli's position, 
while it also amusingly brings out the secretary's Whig dis- 
trust of the Tory leader. 1 

i Disraeli, subsequently, during his great Ministry, bore striking 
testimony to the absolute impartiality with which Ponsonby carried 


Her Majesty sent me to see Mr. Disraeli in Edwards's Hotel, 
George Street, Hanover Square. 1 He at once acceded to the 
Queen's wish, and getting pens and ink said, ' There, let me 
see, I can easily put down what is wanted; that is very nearly 
what I said.' I observed that I did not quite understand it, 
and hoped he would forgive me if I asked him whether he meant 
it as a refusal to take office while this Parliament sat, or whether 
he refused entirely, whether the Queen consented to dissolve 
or not. He said he meant it as a refusal, that he could not 
carry on the Government in a Parliament where there were 80 
votes of majority against him. ' But,' I said, ' would you take 
office and dissolve ? ' He said, ' I thought the Queen would not 
agree to this.' I replied I thought she would not object, in fact, 
I felt certain she would not. ' But,' he said, ' there is an idea 
that this, being my Parliament, cannot be dissolved by me.' 
' But,' I remarked, ' the Queen could offer you a dissolution, 
though, of course, you would be responsible for advising her to 
do so.' ' Of course,' he said, ' I well understand that ; but I 
decline altogether to accept office.' 

He went on, ' How could I proceed ? For two months at least 
Parliament must continue, while the regular estimates, Mutiny 
Act, etc., are passed. The Conservatives are gaining favour in 
the country, but these two months would ruin them. They 
would be exposed in a hostile House to every insult which the 
Opposition might choose to fling at them, and the party would 
be seriously damaged, while the business of the country would 
suffer. The only possibility of carrying any measure would be 
by allying myself to the Irish lot, whom I detest and disagree 
with, and who would throw me over whenever it suited their 
purpose.' I said, ' You have defeated the Government ; ought 
you not therefore to undertake the responsibility of forming 
one?' 'No,' he replied; 'we did not defeat the Government. 
We threw out a stupid, blundering Bill, which Gladstone, in his 
tete montee way, tried to make a vote of confidence. It was a 
foolish mistake of his ; but he has condoned for it by resigning. 
He can now resume office with perfect freedom.' 

out his duties as private secretary to the Queen. He said to a political 
friend : ' I believe that General Ponsonby used to be a Whig, but, 
whatever his politics may once have been, I can only say that I could 
not wish my case better stated to the Queen than the private secretary 
does it. Perhaps I am a gainer by his Whiggishness, as it makes him 
more scrupulously on his guard to be always absolutely fair and lucid,' 
See article on 'The Character of Queen Victoria,' Quarterly Review, 
April, 1901. 

i See below, p. 233. 


During the first part of the interview Disraeli sat at a table, 
and as he spoke with eagerness, there was something in his 
over-civil expressions about the Queen or ' my dear Colonel/ 
which made me think he was playing with me, and I felt once 
or twice a difficulty in not laughing; but when he developed 
the reasons of his policy he rose and stood much more upright 
than I have ever seen him, spoke in a most frank and straight- 
forward manner, and with a sharpness and decision which was 
different from his early words. Yet probably he had measured 
the length of my foot, and had been more sincere and honest in 
his message to the Queen than when he made me believe in his 
frank exposition of policy. 

He was far easier to speak to than Gladstone, who forces 
you into his groove, while Disraeli apparently follows yours 
and is genial, almost too genial, in his sentiments. . . . 

In accordance with Her Majesty's desire, Disraeli em- 
bodied in a couple of sentences the reply which, he had al- 
ready given : 

In answer to the gracious inquiry, whether he would under- 
take to form a Government, Mr. Disraeli said he was prepared 
to form an Administration which he believed would carry on 
Her Majesty's affairs with efficiency, and would possess her 
confidence, but he could not undertake to carry on Her Majesty's 
Government in the present House of Commons. 

Subsequently, Her Majesty having remarked that Mr. Glad- 
stone was not inclined to recommend a dissolution of Parlia- 
ment, Mr. Disraeli stated, that he himself would not advise Her 
Majesty to take that step. 

The language was perhaps not as categorical as it might 
have been, and Gladstone's ingenious mind found a dis- 
crepancy between the two sentences, which led him on the 
Friday to make a further inquiry of the Queen. To Her 
Majesty's common sense it was clear that, if Disraeli would 
neither take office in the existing Parliament nor advise 
a dissolution, his attitude amounted as Pbnsonby put it in 
his memorandum, to an ' absolute refusal ' ; and she ac- 
cordingly answered that Disraeli had unconditionally de- 
clined to form a Government. After such a reply, it might 


have been thought that a Minister who still possessed for 
the ordinary purposes of government a majority of eighty 
or ninety would have considered the immediate resumption 
of office, with or without the intention of an early dissolu- 
tion, to be his obvious duty. But Gladstone, indignant at 
Disraeli's avoidance of responsibility, embarrassed the 
Queen by discovering an alternative course the drafting 
of a detailed memorandum to show that Disraeli's action 
was neither justifiable in itself nor in accordance with 
precedent. He urged that the proceeding between the 
Queen and Disraeli could not be regarded as complete, as 
the vote had been the result of concerted action by the Op- 
position on a matter declared to be vital by Ministers; 
and therefore Disraeli ought by counsel and inquiry among 
his friends to have exhausted all practicable means to form 
a Government. He recited the history of previous Par- 
liamentary crises to show that there was no precedent for 
Disraeli's summary refusal. He could not call his col- 
leagues together and ask them to resume their offices were 
he not able ' to prove to them that according to usage 
every means had been exhausted on the part of the Opposi- 
tion f9r providing for the government of the country, or at 
least that nothing more was to be expected from that 
quarter.' 1 

It was a lame conclusion. Gladstone had already been 
told that nothing more was to be expected from that quarter. 
The Queen felt this strongly, when the memorandum was 
presented to her on the Saturday. But as her constitu- 
tional duty was to obtain a Government, and as it was 
plain that the only way in which this could be done was to 
persuade Gladstone to return, she consented to humour 
him so far as to become the medium of communication for 
the rival leaders. Her secretary put on paper an explana- 
tion of her views. 

iThe text is given in Lord Motley's Gladstone, Book VI., ch. 12, 
where the crisis is narrated and examined at length. 


Memorandum in Colonel Ponsoriby's Handwriting. 

BUCKINGHAM PALACE, March 15. The unusual course fol- 
lowed by Mr. Gladstone of asking the Queen for further explana- 
tions before he could call the Cabinet together, made it neces- 
sary for Her Majesty to consider how she could meet his request. 

The Queen could not refuse to take any notice of it, as this 
would have retarded the progress of the negotiations which Her 
Majesty was anxious to bring to a satisfactory termination. 
Besides which, Her Majesty desired there should be no mis- 

The Queen could not assure Mr. Gladstone that Mr. Disraeli's 
refusal to accept office was complete, as Her Majesty would then 
have undertaken the responsibility of answering for the Opposi- 
tion party. 

The Queen could not herself have called on Mr. Disraeli for 
further explanations, as Her Majesty would then have assumed 
the view taken by Mr. Gladstone of Mr. Disraeli's conduct. 

The Queen therefore, with Mr. Gladstone's knowledge and 
consent, forwarded his letter entire to Mr. Disraeli. 

From Queen Victoria. 

BUCKINGHAM PALACE, March 15, '73. The Queen communi- 
cated, as Mr. Disraeli is aware, the substance of his refusal to 
undertake to form a Government in the present Parliament, to 
Mr. Gladstone, and she thinks it due to Mr. Disraeli to send him 
the accompanying letter (with Mr. Gladstone's knowledge), and 
will be glad to receive a reply from Mr. Disraeli which she can 
show Mr. Gladstone. 

The Queen allows this communication to be made through 
her in order to prevent as much as possible any misunderstand- 

On receipt of this letter on Saturday afternoon, Disraeli 
told Ponsonby that he could easily write a short reply at 
once, but he ' felt sure it would meet with your Majesty's 
wishes and his own inclinations if he consulted Lord Derby 
and other members of his party before writing to your 
Majesty.' Derby had returned on the Friday, but Cairns 
remained abroad. Disraeli's memorandum was not ready 
till the middle of Sunday, and he sent it down in tbe after- 
noon to the Queen, who had retired to Windsor. 


To Queen Victoria. 

GEORGE STREET, HANOVER SQUARE, March 16, 1873. Mr. Dis- 
raeli with his humble duty to your Majesty. 

He thanks your Majesty for communicating to him Mr. Glad- 
stone's letter, with Mr. Gladstone's knowledge. 

He is grateful to your Majesty for deigning to allow these 
communications to be made through your Majesty, and humbly 
agrees with your Majesty that it is a mode which may tend to 
prevent misunderstanding. 

The observations of Mr. Gladstone, generally considered, may 
be ranged under two heads: an impeachment of the conduct of 
the Opposition in contributing to the vote against the Govern- 
ment measure, when they were not prepared, in the event of 
success, to take office; and a charge against the Leader of the 
Opposition, that, when honored by the commands of your 
Majesty, he gave a ' summary refusal ' to undertake your Ma- 
jesty's Government, without exhausting all practicable means 
of aiding the country in its exigency. 

The argument of Mr. Gladstone, in the first instance, is that 
the Opposition, having, by ' deliberate and concerted action,' 
thrown out a Bill, which the Government had declared to be 
' vital to their existence,' is bound to use all means to form a 
Government of .its own, in order to replace that which it must be 
held to have intentionally overthrown. 

It is humbly submitted to your Majesty, that though, as a 
general rule, this doctrine may be sound, it cannot be laid down 
unconditionally, nor otherwise than subject to many exceptions. 

It is undoubtedly sound so far as this : that for an Opposition 
to use its strength for the express purpose of throwing out a 
Government, which it is at the time aware that it cannot replace 
having that object in view, and no other would be an act 
of recklessness and faction, which could not be too strongly 
condemned. But it may be safely affirmed that no conduct of 
this kind can be imputed to the Conservative Opposition of 1873. 

If the doctrine in question is carried further; if it be con- 
tended that, whenever, from any circumstances, a Minister is so 
situated that it is in his power to prevent any other Parlia- 
mentary leader from forming an Administration which is likely 
to stand, he acquires, thereby, the right to call upon Parlia- 
ment to pass whatever measures he and his colleagues think fit, 
and is entitled to denounce as factious the resistance to such 
measures then the claim is one not warranted by usage, or 
reconcilable with the freedom of the Legislature. 


It amounts to this: that he tells the House of Commons, 
' Unless you are prepared to put some one in my place, your 
duty is to do whatever I bid you.' 

To no House of Commons has language of this kind ever been 
addressed : by no House of Commons would it be tolerated. 

In the present instance, the Bill which has been the cause 
of the crisis, was, from the first, strongly objected to by a large 
section of the Liberal party, and that on the same grounds which 
led the Conservative Opposition to resist it, namely, that it 
seemed calculated to sacrifice the interests of Irish education 
to those of the Roman Catholic hierarchy. 

A protracted discussion strengthened the general feeling of 
the House of Commons as to the defects of the measure: the 
party whom it was, apparently, intended to propitiate, rejected it 
as inadequate; and, probably, if the sense of the House had been 
taken on the Bill, irrespective of considerations as to the political 
result of the division, not one-fourth of the House would have 
voted for it. From first to last, it was unpopular, both inside 
and outside Parliament, and was disliked quite as much by 
Liberals as by Conservatives. 

It is humbly submitted to your Majesty that no Minister has 
a right to say to Parliament, ' You must take such a Bill, 
whether you think it a good one or not, because, without passing 
it, I will not hold office, and my numerical strength in the present 
House is too great to allow of any other effective Administration 
being formed.' 

The charge against the Leader of the Opposition personally, 
that, by his ' summary refusal ' to undertake your Majesty's Gov- 
ernment, he was failing in his duty to your Majesty and the 
country, is founded altogether on a gratuitous assumption by 
Mr. Gladstone, which pervades his letter, that the means of Mr. 
Disraeli to carry on the Government were not ' exhausted.' A 
brief statement of facts will at once dispose of this charge. 

Before Mr. Disraeli, with due deference, offered his decision 
to your Majesty, he had enjoyed the opportunity of consulting 
those gentlemen, with whom he acts in public life; and they 
were unanimously of opinion, that it would be prejudicial to 
the interests of the country for a Conservative Administration to 
attempt to conduct your Majesty's affairs, in the present House 
of Commons. What other means were at Mr. Disraeli's dis- 
posal? Was he to open negotiations with a section of the late 
Ministry, and waste days in barren interviews, vain applications, 
and the device of impossible combinations? Was he to make 
overtures to the considerable section of the Liberal party who 


had voted against the Government, namely, the Irish Roman 
Catholic gentlemen? Surely Mr. Gladstone is not serious in 
such a suggestion. Impressed by experience, obtained in those 
very instances to which Mr. Gladstone refers, of the detrimental 
influence upon Government of a ' crisis ' unnecessarily prolonged 
by hollow negotiations, Mr. Disraeli humbly conceived that he 
was taking a course at once advantageous to the public interests 
and tending to spare your Majesty unnecessary anxiety, by at 
once laying before your Majesty the real position of affairs. 

There are many observations in Mr. Gladstone's letter which 
Mr. Disraeli, for convenience, refrains from noticing. Some 
of them are involved in an ambiguity not easy to encounter in 
a brief space: some of them, with reference to Mr. Disraeli's 
conduct in the House of Commons, Mr. Disraeli would fain hope 
are not entirely divested of some degree of exaggeration. ' The 
deliberate and concerted action of the Opposition ' would sub- 
side, Mr. Disraeli believes, on impartial investigation, into the 
exercise of that ordinary, and even daily, discipline of a political 
party, without which a popular assembly would soon degenerate 
into a mob, and become divested of all practical influence. In 
the present instance, Mr. Disraeli believes he is correct in affirm- 
ing, that his friends were not even formally summoned to vote 
against the Government measure, but to support an amendment 
by an honorable gentleman, which was seconded from the Liberal 
benches, and which could only by a violent abuse of terms be 
described as a party move. 

Then, again, much is made of the circumstance that the exist- 
ence of the Government was staked on this measure. Mr. Dis- 
raeli has already treated of this subject generally. But what are 
the particular facts? No doubt, more than a month ago, the 
Prime Minister, in a devoted House of Commons, had, in an 
unusual, not to say unprecedented, manner, commenced his ex- 
position of an abstruse measure by stating that the existence of 
the Government was staked on its success. But inasmuch as, 
in the course of time, it was understood that the Government 
were prepared to modify, or even to withdraw, most of the 
clauses of this ir.?0sure, these words were forgotten or condoned, 
and could not be seriously held as exercising a practical in- 
fluence on the ultimate decision. 

From Queen Victoria. 

WINDSOR CASTLE, March 16, 1873. The Queen thanks Mr. 
Disraeli for his letter. She has sent it to Mr. Gladstone, and 
asked him whether he will undertake to resume office. 


Gladstone was at last convinced, to use his own language, 
that no ' further effort ' was to be expected from the Op- 
position ' towards meeting the present necessity.' He and 
his colleagues accordingly resumed their offices. But in 
writing to the Queen he recognised that the political posi- 
tion had been ' seriously unhinged by the shock,' and that 
neither the Administration nor the Parliament could again 
be what they were ; and he did not disguise in his explana- 
tion to Parliament the damage that had been sustained, 
and the disadvantages necessarily attaching to a returning 
or resuming Government. 

The best opinion, both of the public and of the Conserva- 
tive party, approved of Disraeli's decision. The Times 
had advised that course throughout. Its editor's view was 

sent to Disraeli by Lennox. 

\ I 
From Lord Henry Lennox. 

Private. 19, GROSVENOR GARDENS, S.W., March 16, 1873. 
Delane dined -with me last evening, and I cannot forbear letting 
you know what he said. 

First, that you now stand in the highest position in which 
any statesman has stood for many years past; that you had by 
your decision given proof of the very highest order of states- 
manship, both unselfish and patriotic; that he is convinced your 
statement of to-morrow will produce the very best effect through- 
out the country, and will earn for you the gratitude of your 
followers and the respect and admiration of your opponents; 
and lastly that in this matter you have displayed a judgment 
and a spirit of which Gladstone would be utterly incapable. 

I need not tell you with what pleasure I heard his remarks, 
especially as they were made in presence of the P. of Wales, 

the Duke of Edinburgh, and many others. 


So strong a party man and competent a manager as Lord 
Abergavenny held that ' Dizzy has acted most wisely in re- 
fusing to form a Government.' But there was of course a 
disappointed section of the party, who clamoured for the 
bold policy of forcing a dissolution and forming a Govern- 
ment, and maintained that any hesitation to seize the helm 
would have as discouraging and dispiriting an effect as 


Derby's refusal in 1855. It was mainly to the satisfaction 
of these impatient partisans that Disraeli addressed himself 
in his Parliamentary explanation on March 30. Some parts 
of an unnecessarily elaborate speech were not very happy; 
and Hardy rightly criticised his chief's remarks about the 
impossibility of a matured and complete policy in opposi- 
tion. But there was a large amount of necessary financial 
and other business which a new Government would have 
had to get through before the session could be wound up 
and dissolution accomplished, and there was no answer to 
the passage in which Disraeli pointed out what would dur- 
ing the intervening period be the certain lot of an Admin- 
istration with a majority of ninety against them. 

I know well and those who are around me know well 
what will occur when a Ministry takes office and attempts to 
carry on the Government with a minority during the session, 
with a view of ultimately appealing to the people. We should 
have what is called ' fair play.' That is to say, no vote of want 
of confidence would be proposed, and chiefly because it would 
be of no use. There would be no wholesale censure, but retail 
humiliation. A right hon. gentleman will come down here, he 
will arrange his thumbscrews and other instruments of torture 
on this table. We shall never ask for a vote without a lecture; 
we shall never perform the most ordinary routine office of Gov- 
ernment without there being annexed to it some pedantic and 
ignominious condition. ... In a certain time we should enter 
into the paradise of abstract resolutions. One day hon. gentle- 
men cannot withstand the golden opportunity of asking the 
House to affirm that the income tax should no longer form one 
of the features of our Ways and Means. Of course a proposition 
of that kind would be scouted by the right hon. gentleman and 
all his colleagues; but, then, they might dine out that day, and 
the Resolution might be carried, as Resolutions of that kind 
have been. Then another hon. gentleman, distinguished for his 
knowledge of men and things, would move that the diplomatic 
service be abolished. While hon. gentlemen opposite were laugh- 
ing in their sleeves at the mover, they would vote for the motion 
in order to put the Government into a minority. For this reason. 
' Why should men,' they would say, ' govern the country who are 
in a minority ? ' totally forgetting that we had acceded to office 
in the spirit of the Constitution, quite oblivious of the fountain 


and origin of the position we occupied. And it would go very 
hard if on some sultry afternoon, some hon. member should not 
' rush in where angels fear to tread,' and successfully assimilate 
the borough and the county franchise. And so things would 
go on until the bitter end until at last even the Appropriation 
Bill has passed, Parliament is dissolved, and we appeal to those 
millions, who, perhaps, six months before, might have looked 
upon us as the vindicators of intolerable grievances, but who 
now receive us as a defeated, discredited, and degraded ministry, 
whose services can neither be of value to the Crown nor a credit 
to the nation. 

The Tory party, Disraeli maintained, occupied a most 
satisfactory position. It had divested itself of excrescences 
and emerged from the fiscal period. In order to deal with 
the more fundamental questions which were rapidly coming 
to the front, it was of the utmost importance that there 
should be ( a great Constitutional party, distinguished for 
its intelligence as well as for its organisation, which shall 
be competent to lead the people and direct the public mind.' 
That there might be no obstacle to its future triumph, he, 
as the trustee of its honour and interests, declined to form a 
weak and discredited Administration. 

To the Duke of Richmond. 

Friday, March 21, 1873. I thought what you said was most 
judicious and a propos, and will have a good effect, and encourage 
the country. You spoke too highly of your colleague and corre- 
spondent, but it proved our union; and I must try to deserve 
your praise. 

I don't think the Prime Minister greatly distinguished him- 
self in our House. 

We shall all of us be glad to see Cairns again. How much 
has happened in his absence, and ripe, I think, with the seeds 
of the future. 

The seeds of the future were indeed germinating. To 
an Opposition which, little more than a year before, was 
discredited, discontented, factious, and hopeless, Disraeli 
had given organisation, policy, popular respect, the assur- 
ance of high and unselfish leadership, and the expectation 
of early and definitive success. 




While Disraeli's political prospects grew daily brighter, 
a heavy cloud fell upon his domestic life. After thirty- 
three years of unbroken happiness and affection, he lost 
the wife who was in very deed his chosen helpmate, 1 to 
whom he attributed, in a speech at Edinburgh in 1867, all 
the successes of his life, ' because she has supported me by 
her counsel and consoled me by the sweetness of her mind 
and disposition.' The world might laugh at her queer- 
nesses and gaucheries, which became more marked with 
age ; might find it difficult to decide which were the odder, 
her looks or her sayings, the clothes she wore or the stories 
she told. In externals, she might seem a strange wife for 
a statesman. But, besides the obvious kindness and genu- 
ineness of her nature, and the shrewd judgment which un- 
derlay her inconsequent words, she had qualities peculiarly 
becoming in her place : absolute trustworthiness and discre- 
tion in political secrets, which Disraeli never seems to have 
hid from her; a constancy and heroism which matched his 
own, and which, on one notable occasion, enabled her to 
bear the jamming of her finger in a carriage door in smiling 
silence so that his equanimity on the way to an important 
debate might not be disturbed. 

Lady Beaconsfield was now an old woman of eighty, 
and of late years had experienced much ill-health; on one 
occasion, in 1868, her life was for some days in peril. In 
the spring of 1872, after the fatigue and excitement of the 
Manchester demonstrations, she once more showed signs of 

i See Vol. II., ch. 2. 


breaking down; but for a time performed, and was en- 
couraged by her physician to perform, her social duties 
as usual. 

To Montagu Carry. 

G. GATE, May 7, 1872. Sir William [Gull] examined me this 
morning and has decided that though one of the bronchial tubes 
is clogged, there is nothing organically wrong, or which may 
not soon be put right. 

Miladi is suffering less. She went to Lady Waldegrave's last 
night, but was obliged to come home almost immediately. But, 
as she boastfully says, her illness was not found out. She de- 
lighted Fortescue x by telling him that she had heard him very 
much praised. He pressed her very much when and where. 
She replied, ' It was in bed.' 

Sir William gives a good account of her to-day, and seems to 
think he has remedied the pain, which is all we can hope for, 
and has sanctioned, and even advised, her to go to Court: but 
I don't think he allows enough for her extreme weakness. How- 
ever, I shall be with her to-day; last night she was alone, which 
I think fearful. 

H. OF C. May 9, '72. The visit to Court was not successful. 
She was suffering as she went, and was taken so unwell there, 
that we had to retreat precipitately; but without much observa- 
tion. Knowing the haunts of the palace a little, I got hold of 
some female attendants who were very serviceable. . . . 

CARLTON CLUB, May 14, '72. I have been, and am, so harassed, 
that I have been quite unable to write a line and this will be 
sad stuff. 

Nothing encouraging at home. To see her every day weaker 
and weaker is heartrending. I have had, like all of us, some 
sorrows of this kind; but in every case, the fatal illness has been 
apparently sudden, and comparatively short. The shock is great 
under such circumstances no doubt, but there is a rebound in the 
nature of things. But to witness this gradual death of one, who 
has shared so long, and so completely, my life, entirely unmans 

For herself, she still makes an effort to enter society: and Sir 
William approves and even counsels it; but it is impossible the 
effort can be maintained. 

I know not what are our movements. If the weather were 
genial, I think she is disposed to try Hughenden, but I leave 

i Chichester Fortescue, afterwards Lord Carlingford, was Lady Wal- 
degrave'8 husband. 


everything of this sort to her fancy and wish. She once talked 
of going down on Thursday. I can't believe that after her 
return, she will attempt society any more: the break of a fort- 
night will produce some effect in this way. . . . 

Lady Beaconsfield was taken to Hughenden for the Whit- 
suntide recess ; but the malady did not yield to the change 
and country air. 

To Montagu Corry. 

HUGHENDEN, May 22, 1872. . . . I have no good news. Her 
sufferings have been great here: but the change of weather has 
brought a ray of distraction. 

She moves with great difficulty and cannot bear the slightest 
roughness in the road, which sadly limits our travels. She 
enjoyed yesterday going to the German Forest, ascending from 
the Lady's Walk, but suffered afterwards. Antonelli pushes 
her about in a perambulator a little, and seems to amuse her. 
He heard a nightingale ' whistling ' about the house. She thinks 
* whistling ' a capital term for bird noises. . . . 

With indomitable pluck, Lady Beaconsfield, after her 
return to town, refused to accept the confinement of an 
invalid; but resumed her social life, until on July 17, at 
a party at Lady Loudoun's house to meet the Duchess of 
Cambridge, she suddenly became very seriously ill and 
had to be taken home at once. The hostess and the guests 
were struck by her wonderful courage, ' and indeed hero- 
ism,' and by the unselfishness with which she seemed to 
think more of the inconvenience which her illness might 
cause her hostess than of her own acute pain. She was 
never able to go out in London society again. 

To Lady Beaconsfield. 

July 25, 1872. I have nothing to tell you, except that I love 
you, which, I fear, you will think rather dull. . . . 

Natty * was very affectionate about you, and wanted me to 
come home and dine with him; quite alone; but I told him that 
you were the only person now, whom I could dine with; and 
only relinquished you to-night for my country. 

i The late Lord Rothschild, at this time M.P. for Aylesbury. 


My country, I fear, will be very late; but I hope to find you 
in a sweet sleep. 

From Lady Beaconsfield. 

July 26. 

MY OWN DEAREST, I miss you sadly. I feel so grateful for 
your constant tender love and kindness. I certainly feel better 
this evening. . . . Your own devoted BEACONSFIELD. 

This is the last letter of his wife's which Disraeli pre- 
served probably the last she wrote him. She was not 
able to be moved to Hughenden until the end of September ; 
so he and she passed, as he expressed it, their ' first summer 
in London.' 

To Lord Cairns. 

Private. GROSVENOR GATE, Aug. 17, 1872. Many, many 
thanks. The birds were capital and pleased the fastidious palate 
of my invalid. 

The prospect of reaching Hughenden seems every day fainter. 
Lady Beaconsfield has had more than one return of her hemor- 
rhage, and, sometimes, I feel, and fear, that even her buoyant 
and gallant spirit will hardly baffle so many causes of exhaustion. 

We have not been separated for three and thirty years, and, 
during all that time, in her society I never have had a moment 
of dullness. It tears the heart to see such a spirit suffer, and 
suffer so much! May you, my dear Cairns, never experience 
my present feelings! . . . 

From the Duchess of Cleveland. 

RABY CASTLE, DARLINGTON, Sept. 12, '72. . . . One privilege 
you have which is not granted to all. No two people surely can 
look back upon a life of such loving and perfect companionship. 
One of my sons once spoke to Lady Beaconsfield in wonder of 
the youthful energy and high spirits she preserved, and said 
something of the courage and force of character it showed. 
' No,' she said, ' it is not that. It is that my life has been such 
a happy one. I have had so much affection, and no troubles 
no contradictions: that is what has kept me so young and 
well.' . . . 

To Gathorne Hardy. 

Private. GROSVENOR GATE. Sept. 16, 1872. We are much 
touched by yr. kind letter, which I mentioned to my wife. She 


sends her very kindest regards to Mrs. Hardy and yourself, but 
she does not see this letter, so I will say, that her condition oc- 
casions me the greatest disquietude, tho' they tell me there is 
some improvement. Her illness, under wh. she has, to some 
degree, been suffering for many months, is a total inability to 
take any sustenance, and it is to me perfectly marvellous how 
she exists, and shows even great buoyancy of life. 

We have never left Grosvenor Gate, tho' as everything has 
been tried in vain, Lady Beaconsfield now talks of trying change 
of air, and endeavouring to get down to Hughenden. As for 
myself, I have never been into the town during the whole of 
August and the present month, so, when business commences, 
Pall Mall and Whitehall shall be as fresh to me as to my happier 
comrades, who are shooting in Scotland or climbing the Alps. 
One has the advantage here when we wake, of looking upon 
trees, and bowery vistas, and we try to forget, that the Park is 
called Hyde, and that the bowers are the bowers of Kensing- 

We take drives in the counties of Middx. and Surrey, and 
discover beautiful retreats of wh. we had never heard; so we 
have the excitement of travel. What surprises me, more than 
anything, is the immensity and variety of London, and the miles 
of villas wh. are throwing out their antenna? in every suburban 
direction. . . . 

I should like to hear from you again as to your own health. 
All depends on you. I am only holding the reins during a period 
of transition, and more from a feeling of not deserting the 
helm at a moment of supposed difficulty and danger, than any 
other. . . . 

A note in Disraeli's handwriting, apparently intended 
for the Queen, gives some further particulars of these drives 
round London. 

What miles of villas ! and of all sorts of architecture ! What 
beautiful churches ! What gorgeous palaces of Geneva ! * 

One day we came upon a real feudal castle, with a donjon 
keep high in the air. It turned out to be the new City prison 
in Camden Road, but it deserves a visit; I mean externally. 
Of all the kingdoms ruled over by our gracious mistress, the 
most remarkable is her royaume de Cockaigne, and perhaps the 
one the Queen has least visited. Her faithful servants in ques- 

1 In letters to friends written at this time the ' gorgeous palaces of 
Geneva ' became more prosaically ' gin-palaces.' 


tion, preparing their expeditions with a map, investigated all 
parts of it from Essex to Surrey, and Lady Beaconsfield calcu- 
lated that from the 1st of August to the end of September she 
travelled 220 miles. 

To Lord Cairns. 

GROSVENOR GATE, Sept. 26, 1872. You have expressed so much 
sympathy for us, and it has heen so highly appreciated, that I 
must tell you, that, to-day, we hope to reach Hughenden. There 
has been, within the last week, a decided, and, I hope now, a 
permanent improvement in my wife's health, and she is resolved 
to try change of air. I am a little sorry, that we go home in the 
fall of the leaf, and that too in a sylvan land, but home only can 
insure her the comforts and the ease, which an invalid requires. 

If she could only regain not appetite but even a desire 
for sustenance, I should be confident of the future, the buoyancy 
of her spirit is so very remarkable. However, there is a streak 
of dawn. . . . 

What Disraeli called ' our hegira from Grosvenor Gate ' 
proved at first a success; and on October 3 he could write 
more cheerfully to Corry : ' Lady Beaconsfield has been 
here a week, and has improved daily; there seems a sus- 
tained revival of appetite, which had altogether ceased.' In 
answer to the Queen's sympathetic inquiries through Lady 
Ely he was able to report ' continuous improvement. You 
know her buoyancy of spirit. She says she is now convinced 
that everybody eats too much; still at the same time she 
would like to be able to eat a little.' 

The improvement was fallacious ; and though Lady Bea- 
consfield occasionally received visitors and even apparently 
paid a call on near neighbours, her husband's letters show 
that her strength was waning during the following two 
months, till the final attack came upon her in the second 
week of December. 

To Montagu Corry. 

HUGHENDEN, Oct. 13, '72. . . . Things here very bad. 
Nov. 8. . . . Affairs have been going very badly : so badly, 
that I telegraphed, yesterday, for Leggatt and he came down 


immediately: but he took a different view from us, I am glad 
to say: and persisted that, if sustenance could be taken, no im- 
mediate danger was to be apprehended. But how to manage 
that? The truth is, she never has even tasted any of the dishes, 
that the Rothschilds used to send her in London, and anxious 
as she was to partake of the delicacies you so kindly provided 
for her, and which touched her much, it has ended with them as 
with the feats of Lionel's chef! 

Shall you be disengaged for three or four days on the 21st? 
The John Manners are to come here on that day, if all goes 
well. A party is impossible, but perhaps we might manage a 
couple of men. 

Nov. 13. Things go on here much the same : some improve- 
ment which I ascribe to the weather not in the appetite, but 
in continued absence of pain, and consequently enjoyment of 
life. . . . 

To Philip Rose. 

HUGHENDEN MANOR, Nov. 13, 1872. . . . Lady Beaconsfield 
intended to have called at Rayners to-day, and to have hoped 
that Mrs. Rose and yourself would be able to dine with us on 
Friday the 22nd. I trust we shall find you disengaged. The 
snow frightened me, tho' my wife was inclined to face it. 

The temporary improvement lasted long enough, to enable 
the patient to enjoy her little party from November 21 
to 25, including, besides the John Manners, Lord Eosebery 
for the first two days, and Harcourt and Lord Ronald 
Gower for the last two; and to justify one of those guests in 
writing her a jocular letter of thanks. 

William Vernon Harcourt to Lady Beaconsfield. 

TRIN. COLL., CAMBRIDGE, Nov. 26, 1872. I have all my life 
made efforts (apparently destined to be unsuccessful) to appear 
what Falstaff, or is it Touchstone ?, calls ' moderate honest.' 
But here I am actually a felon malgre moi. Joseph's butler was 
not more alarmed and shocked than I was when, on opening my 
sack, the first thing I discovered in its mouth was the French 
novel you had provided for my entertainment in my charming 
bedroom at Hughenden. Whether the act was one of accidental 
larceny by my servant or whether it was insidiously effected by 
Lord J. Manners in order to ruin my public and private reputa- 


tion, I do not feel sure. I did however return it by this morn- 
ing's post before I left London, and so I hope to be forgiven. 

I have already taken measures to secure a consignment to 
you of Trinity audit ale. Delicious as it is, I doubt whether 
there really exists anyone except a Cambridge man who can 
drink it with impunity. . . . 

And now a truce to nonsense. I must offer you one word of 
serious and sincere thanks for the true and genuine kindness 
which I have received at your hands and those of Mr. Disraeli. 
It was no language of compliment but of simple truth which 
I spoke when I told you that, of all visits which it was possible 
to pay, there was none of which I should have been more 
ambitious than that which I owed to your hospitality last Sun- 
day. There are things in the world which one not only enjoys 
at the time but which one remembers always and these are 
of them. . . . 

Disraeli told Harcourt that a glass of the Trinity audit 
ale was almost the last thing which passed Lady Beacons- 
field's lips before she died. Lord Ronald Gower, writing 
of this visit in his Reminiscences, vividly depicts Disraeli's 
distress in talking of his wife's sufferings. ' His face, gen- 
erally so emotionless, was filled with a look of suffering and 
woe that nothing but the sorrow of her whom he so truly 
loves would cause on that impassive countenance.' 

To Montagu Corry. 

Nov. 29. . . . My lady's appetite has been sustained; indeed 
I think I may say it is restored : but her sufferings are increased, 
and I have just been obliged to send to Leggatt to beg him to 
come down to-morrow. 

She got over her visit and visitors, notwithstanding this, with 
success and great tact: showing little, but always to effect. . . . 

To Philip Rose. 

HUGHENDEN, Dec. 6, 1872. Affairs are most dark here I 
tremble for the result, and even an immediate one. My poor 
wife has got (it matters not by what means) congestion on her 
lungs, and with her shattered state, it seems to me almost hope- 
less, that, even with her constitution, we should again escape. 
I entirely trust to your coming to me, if anything happens. / 
am totally unable to meet the catastrophe. . . . 


The last stage was mercifully not prolonged. She died 
on December 15, after a week's acute illness, during which 
her husband seldom left her room. A note which he sent 
out to Corry on one of these days is preserved : * She says 
she must see you. Calm, but the delusions stronger than 
ever. She will not let me go out to fetch you. Come. D.' 

There was a great outpouring of public and private 
sympathy with Disraeli in this severe trial. The terms of 
close affection on which he had lived with his wife, long 
familiar to his intimates, had of late years become widely 
known to the country. Letters of condolence poured in, 
not merely from friends and colleagues, but from perfect 
strangers of all classes and parties ; and the public journals 
manifested appreciation and respect. The Queen, whose 
telegrams and messages of inquiry had been constant 
throughout the illness, wrote: 

From Queen Victoria. 

WINDSOR CASTLE, Dec. 15, 1872. The Queen well knows that 
Mr. Disraeli will not consider the expression of her heartfelt 
sympathy an intrusion in this his first hour of desolation and 
overwhelming grief, and therefore she at once attempts to ex- 
press what she feels. The Queen knew and admired as well as 
appreciated the unbounded devotion and affection which united 
him to the dear partner of his life, whose only thought was him. 
And therefore the Queen knows also what Mr. Disraeli has lost 
and what he must suffer. The only consolation to be found is 
in her present peace and freedom from suffering, in the recollec- 
tion of their life of happiness and in the blessed certainty of 
eternal reunion. 

May God support and sustain him is the Queen's sincere prayer. 

Her children are all anxious to express their sympathy. 
Yesterday was the anniversary of her great loss. 

The Prince and Princess of Wales and other members 
of the Royal Family were among the first to send their 
sympathy. Queen Sophia of the Netherlands wrote : ' It 
is given to few to have a character like hers ' ; the King 
of the Belgians, on behalf of the Queen and himself: 
' Toute notre sympathie est avec vous dans ce cruel mo- 


ment ' ; the Due D'Aumale : ' Personne mieux que moi 
ne comprend pas 1'etendue de votre douleur. . . . Mon 
coeur est tout avec le votre ' ; and the Empress of Austria, 
through Count Bernstorff : ' She knows how deeply Lady 
Beaconsfield was devoted to you and how you returned 
her devotion by touching affection and gratitude.' Her 
great personal kindness was what the old Whig leader, 
Russell, among many others, dwelt on in a sympathetic 
note. Lord Rosebery, who had been one of the last visitors 
at Hughenden, wrote : 1 1 can hardly now realise that my 
kind hostess whom I saw full of life and spirit a few days 
ago has passed away. ... I suppose no one ever came near 
her without admiring her goodness, her unselfishness, and 
her magnificent devotion.' The Prime Minister's letter 
and an American tribute may be given more at length : 

From, William Ewart Gladstone. 

10, DOWNING STREET, WHITEHALL, Jan. 19, 1873. . . . You 
and I were, as I believe, married in the same year. It has been 
permitted to both of us to enjoy a priceless boon through a third 
of a century. Spared myself tbe blow which has fallen on you, 
I can form some conception of what it must have been and be. 
I do not presume to offer you the consolation which you will 
seek from another and higher quarter. I offer only the assur- 
ance which all who know you, all who knew Lady Beaconsfield, 
and especially those among them who like myself enjoyed for 
a length of time her marked though unmerited regard, may 
perhaps render without impropriety; the assurance tbat in tbia 
trying hour they feel deeply for you, and with you. . . . 

To William Ewart Gladstone. 

HUGHENDEN MANOR, Jan. 24, 1873. I am much touched by 
your kind words in my great sorrow. I trust, I earnestly trust, 
that you may be spared a similar affliction. Marriage is the 
greatest earthly happiness, when founded on complete sympathy. 
.That hallowed lot was mine, and for a moiety of my existence; 
and I know it is yours. 

From John Lothrop Motley. 

MENTMORE, LEIGHTON BUZZARD, Feb. 21, '73.. . . I shall never 
forget the most agreeable visit which my wife and I enjoyed at 

1872-1873] SYMPATHY OF FRIENDS 231 

Hughenden a little before we left England nor any of Lady 
Beaconsfield's acts of charming and graceful hospitality united 
to your own. I always admired her ready wit, her facility and 
charm in social intercourse, her quick perception of character 
and events, and it was impossible not to be deeply touched by 
her boundless devotion to yourself, which anyone, allowed the 
privilege of your acquaintance, could see was most generously 
and loyally repaid. . . . 

I never met her in society without being greeted by a kindly 
smile and a sympathetic word, and I have frequently enjoyed long 
and to me most agreeable conversations with her. She knew 
well how thoroughly I appreciated and shared in her admiration 
for the one great object of her existence. . . . 

Disraeli was, for the time, overwhelmed by his loss. 
Two of his letters will show his feeling. He used the same 
or very similar expressions to all his friends. That she had 
appreciated them was their great merit in his eyes. ' Of 
character,' he wrote to one of them, ' she was no mean 
judge. I must ever regard those who remember her with 
tenderness and respect.' 

To the Prince of Wales. 

Dec. 22, 1872. 

SIR AND DEAR PRINCE, I will attempt to thank Her Royal 
Highness and yourself for the sympathy which you have shown 
to me in my great sorrow, a grief for which I was unprepared, 
and which seems to me overwhelming. 

A few days before her death, she spoke to me of the Princess 
and yourself, Sir, in terms of deep regard, and, if I may pre- 
sume to say so, of affection. I took, therefore, the occasion of 
mentioning the invitation she had received to Sandringham, 
and she was gratified. She said ' It would have been a happy 
incident in a happy life, now about to close. I liked his society, 
I delighted in the merriment of his kind heart.' 

I shall always remember with gratitude the invariable kind- 
ness shewn by Her Royal Highness and yourself, Sir, to one 
who for 33 years was the inseparable and ever interesting com- 
panion of my life. 


To Lord Cairns. 

GROSVENOR GATE, Dec. 28, '72. Kind and much loved friend ! 
I thank you for all your sympathy in my great sorrow, and for 
all your goodness to one, who was my inseparable, and ever- 
interesting companion for a moiety of my existence. She al- 
ways appreciated you, and thought me fortunate in having such a 

Altho' you are the one, whom I should wish first, and most, 
to see, I will not precipitate our interview, for I have not yet 
subdued the anguish of the supreme sorrow of my life. 

I am obliged to be here on business, and shall remain here 
till Friday, when I go out of town for a day or two, but not to 
Hughenden. On Monday, i.e., to-morrow, week, I must return 
here. It will be my last visit to a house, where I have passed 
exactly half my days, and, so far as my interior life was con- 
cerned, in unbroken happiness. . . . 

Among Lady Beaconsfield's papers was found a touching 
letter of farewell to her husband, written many years be- 
fore, in view of the high probability that she, who was the 
elder by twelve years, would be the first to die. 

June 6, 1856. 

MY OWN DEAR HUSBAND. If I should depart this life before 
you, leave orders that we may be buried in the same grave at 
whatever distance you may die from England. 1 And now, God 
bless you, my kindest, dearest ! You have been a perfect husband 
to me. Be put by my side in the same grave. And now, fare- 

Swell, my dear Dizzy. Do not live alone, dearest. Some one I 
earnestly hope you may find as attached to you as your own 
devoted MARY ANNE. 

Accordingly, Lady Beaconsfield was buried in Hugh- 
enden churchyard in the vault in which her husband was 
himself to be laid, and by the side of their benefactress, 
Mrs. Brydges Willyams. Directly the simple funeral was 
over, Disraeli, as appears from his letter to Cairns, was 
plunged in business. His wife's death, made a vast change 
in his circumstances; he lost thereby 5,000 a year and 
a house in town ; though his generous friend, Andrew Mon- 

i This was written shortly before Disraeli and his wife were about 
to leave England for a cure at a Continental watering-place on account 
of his health. See Vol. IV., p. 51. 

1873] IN A LONDON HOTEL 233 

tagu, gave him material assistance by reducing the interest 
on his debts from 3 to 2 per cent. He had to move all his 
possessions from Grosvernor Gate, and find a new abiding- 
place in London. ' Corry seems his factotum,' wrote Hardy 
in his diary, ' and he needs one, for he is quite unfit for 
that sort of business.' He took refuge for a time in an 
hotel Edwards's Hotel, in George Street, Hanover 
Square. ' It was, in the days of my youth,' he told North- 
cote, ' the famous house of Lady Palmerston, then Lady 
Cowper ; and at least I shall labour in rooms where a great 
statesman has been inspired.' 

There had been some fear amongst his colleagues, whom 
the events of the past year had quite converted from their 
heresies on the leadership, lest the loss of one so intimately 
associated with the triumphs of his political career should 
incline Disraeli to withdraw from active politics. On the 
contrary, he turned to them as a welcome distraction. He 
asked two of his leading colleagues, Cairns and Hardy, to 
come to him at Hughenden in the middle of January. 
Their presence, he wrote, would be ' a source of strength 
and consolation,' and would make him ' much more capable 
of re-entering public life.' With them he discussed the 
, political situation and the vagaries of the Government ; and 
to them he declared his intention of being present and 
speaking when the session began. 

When he went up to town he was deprived of the comfort 
of Corry's presence, owing to the serious illness of Corry's 

To Montagu Corry. 

EDWARDS'S HOTEL, Feb. 4, '73. I left you with a bleeding heart 
yesterday, amid all the sorrows, which seemed to accumulate 
around our heads: but your telegram has a little lifted me out 
of the slough of despond. I had just energy enough to send 
a paragraph to the papers, and messages to Nbrthcote and 
Derby. The former was with me at 11 o'clock, and has under- 
taken to communicate with Gladstone about the speech, and the 
latter has just left me. ... Harrington has also paid me a 
long visit. Hardy is to be with me to-morrow morning, and 


has sent me a memorandum from Cairns, which contains all I 
required. Hardy gives a dinner to the party to-morrow: Cairns 
to-day to Lords and Commons. 

Give my kind regards to your father and sister. I hope every 
hour to have another telegram that his amendment has become 

All my friends admire my rooms. I cannot say I agree with 
them, but things may mend. 

Fortunately for Disraeli the political crisis which re- 
sulted in Gladstone's abortive resignation immediately 
supervened. He had something therefore to distract his 
thoughts; but his loneliness in his hotel weighed heavily 
upon him, and in his letters to Corry he constantly harped 
on his l miserable state/ his * melancholy,' ' the heaviness 
and misery ' of his life. Corry could not return to him, 
as the elder Corry's illness became increasingly serious and 
ended fatally in March. Disraeli said to Malmesbury with 
tears in his eyes, ' I hope some of my friends will take 
notice of me now in my great misfortune, for I have no 
home, and when I tell my coachman to drive home I feel 
it is a mockery.' His friends responded to his appeal, and 
did their best to cheer him up by asking him to dine with 
them quietly. 

To Montagu Corry. 

HOUSE OF COMMONS, Feb. 10, 1873. . . . All yesterday, rumors 
of a crisis were in the air. At Lionel's * where I was asked to 
a family circle I found, to my annoyance, not merely Charles 
Villiers and Osborne, whom I look upon as the family, but Lords 
Cork and Houghton. The political excitement was great, and 
not favorable to the position of Ministers : but Lionel told me 
afterwards, that he had seen the Bill (Delane had shown it him). 
Would you believe it, I was so distrait, and altogether embar- 
rassed, that I never asked him a question about it? 

This morning I was obliged to go to Middleton's about the 
picture, 2 which is virtually finished. He has altered the ex- 
pression, but not hit the mark. I have made some suggestions, 
but am not sanguine about them. . . . 

1 Baron Lionel de Rothschild. 

2 Of Lady Beaconsfield ; see Frontispiece. 


Adieu! mon ires cher. I never wanted you more, but it is 
selfish to say so. 

Feb. 17. . . . I was much pleased with the portrait, and the 
frame, which is exquisite. He has succeeded in giving to the 
countenance an expression of sweet gravity, which is character- 
istic. . . . 

Feb. 18. . . . I dined yesterday at the Carlton: latish and 
was not annoyed. The John Manners asked me again for to- 
morrow, but I declined. On Thursday I am to dine with the 
Cairns and meet the Hardys, and on Friday alone with the 
Stanhopes : Saturday alone with my Countess : x so all my plans 
of absolute retirement are futile. I regret this, for every visit 
makes me more melancholy though hotel life in an evening 
is a cave of despair. 

I was with Brunnow an hour to-day and Madame would 
come down, and kiss me! 

March 1. Your letter greatly distressed me, and I have been 
in hopes of receiving a telegram. 

I have been dining out every day, but only with my host and 
hostess alone and sometimes a very friendly fourth. 'Yester- 
day, at the John Manners', with Duke of Rutland ; and on Thurs- 
day at the Stanhopes' with dear Henry, 2 who received two des- 
patches from Marlboro' House, during the dinner. I dine with 
dear Henry to-day to meet B. Osborne alone : and to-morrow with 
the Malmesburys; it is better than dining here alone, which is 
intolerable, or at a club, which, even with a book, is not very 
genial. . . . 

March 7. Your silence, my best and dearest Montagu, was 
ominous of your impending woe. What can I say to you, but 
express my infinite affection? Death has tried you hard dur- 
ing the last few months, but you have shown, in the severe proof, 
admirable qualities, which all must admire and love. 

I should be glad to hear some tidings of your sister : as for 
myself, I am a prisoner, and almost prostrate, with one of those 
atmospheric attacks which the English persist in calling ' colds,' 
and, for the first time in my life, am absent from House of 
Commons in the midst of a pitched battle. 

But these are nothings compared to your sorrows. Though I 
cannot soften, let me share, them. 

April 4. . . . To-day I went by appointment to New Court, 
expecting to do business: nothing done. Lionel there, but not 
well: a terrible luncheon of oysters and turtle prepared, and 

1 Apparently Lady Chesterfield, or perhaps Lady Cardigan. 

2 Lord Henry Lennox. 


after that nothing settled. This was disgusting. I dine with 
the Stanhopes to-day. On Wednesday last a rather full party 
at Grillion's: the last dinner at the bankrupt Clarendon [hotel]. 
Salisbury was there, and Lowe. 

To the Duchess of Abercorn* 

12, GEORGE STREET, HANOVER SQUARE, May 18, '73. It is most 
kind of you, and of his Grace, to remember me: but I am, really, 
living in seclusion, so far as general society is concerned, and 
therefore, I am sure you will permit me to decline your oblig- 
ing invitation for the 24th. 

Your ' boys ' deserve kindness and encouragement, because 
they are clever and, above all, industrious, and perhaps, also, 
because they inherit the agreeable qualities of their parents. 



To Disraeli the rupture of a union so complete as was 
that between him and his wife meant more than it would 
have meant to most affectionate husbands. His tempera- 
ment was such that he could not be happy, and could not 
bring out the best work of which he was capable, without 
intimate female association and sympathy. * My nature 
demands that my life should be perpetual love,' had been 
a glowing outburst of his youth ; and that love, for all his 
wealth of men friends and the affection which he lavished 
on them, must be the love of woman. In Henrietta Temple 
he wrote : l A female friend, amiable, clever, and devoted, 
is a possession more valuable than parks and palaces; and, 
without such a muse, few men can succeed in life, none 
be content.' Throughout his whole life he had been blessed 
with devotion and sympathy of this kind in ample measure. 
Two women, first his sister and then his wife, had made 
him and his ambitions the centre of their existence ; to both 
of them his own affection and devotion had been unstinted ; 
there had been between him nd them a constant com- 
munion of thoughts and hopes and sympathies. In a lesser 
degree Mrs. Brydges Willyams, in her later years, shared 
in this close intimacy. There were, moreover, other ladies 
whose sympathetic appreciation had cheered and helped 
his career such as Mrs. Austen, Lady Blessington, and 
Frances Anne Lady Londonderry. ' I feel fortunate,' he 
wrote * in 1874, ' in serving a female Sovereign. I owe 
everything to woman ; and if, in the sunset of life, I have 

i To Lady Bradford. 


still a young heart, it is due to that influence.' With all 
the women who influenced his life he kept up a constant 
correspondence of a romantic and sentimental kind, in which 
he revealed, not merely his doings, but his thoughts and 
his character. ' A she-correspondent for my money,' was 
the exclamation of one of his exuberant youthful heroes; 
and it is to the fact that he carried on throughout his life 
a copious correspondence with women that our knowledge 
of the real Disraeli is largely due. 

With Lady Beaconsfield's death the last of the women 
with whom he had hitherto enjoyed this sympathetic inter- 
course passed away ; and he was left for the time widowed 
indeed. Few men at his age sixty-eight would have 
had the freshness of heart to form new attachments, and 
to resume with others the sentimental and romantic in- 
timacy which had proved so stimulating an influence; 
and of those who still possessed sufficient youthfulness for 
the adventure, most would have been prevented, especially 
if public men, by the fear of incurring censure and ridicule. 
But Disraeli's affections were still warm, and craved sym- 
pathetic understandings; nor was he to be deterred by 
possible ridicule from following their dictates. He spoke 
for himself when he wrote a few years earlier in Lothair l : 
1 Threescore and ten, at the present day, is the period of 
romantic passions. As for our enamoured sexagenarians, 
they avenge the theories of our cold-hearted youth.' 

Among those who showed him special kindness in his 
early months of loneliness and desolation were two sisters, 
whom he had long known in society, Lady Chesterfield 
and Lady Bradford. Anne Countess of Chesterfield was 
the eldest, and Selina Countess of Bradford was the young- 
est, of five sisters, daughters of the first Lord Forester, the 
head of an ancient Shropshire family. Of the other sisters 
one married Lord Carrington's eldest son, Robert John 
Smith, and died young in 1832, before her husband suc- 
ceeded to the title. She was of course a neighbour of the 

iCh. 35. 

From a portrait after Sir E. Landseer, R.A., at Hughenden. 


Disraelis after they established themselves at Bradenham 
in 1829 ; and it was at Wycombe Abbey, but apparently 
after Mrs. Smith's death, that Disraeli first met Lady Brad- 
ford. * Mr. D. will tell you,' wrote Lady Bradford to Mrs. 
Disraeli in March, 1868, ' that our first acquaintance was 
100 years ago in poor Lord Carrington's house, before he 
[Disraeli] knew you.' Another sister married General 
Anson, who was Commander-in-Chief in India when the 
Mutiny broke out ; * and the remaining sister married Lord 
Albert Conyngham, afterwards the first Lord Londesbor- 
ough. In their youth the five sisters were prominent in 
the world of fashion, gaiety, and sport the world that 
revolved round Almack's, of which their mother Lady 
Forester was an eminent patroness; and at least Lady 
Chesterfield, Mrs. Anson, and Lady Bradford had been 
reigning beauties. Disraeli, in his days of dandyism, was 
naturally thrown in their company. In 1835 he went to 
a specially gorgeous fancy dress ball with a party which in- 
cluded the Chesterfields and the Ansons, and told his sister 
that ' Lady Chesterfield was a sultana.' 2 In 1838 he 
met at Wycombe Abbey a whole family party of the For- 
esters ' rather noisy, but very gay ' ' Lady Chesterfield, 
George and Mrs. Anson, the Albert Conynghams, Forester,' 
and ' made the greatest friends with all of them,' he told 
Mrs. Wyndham Lewis. 3 The second brother, General ' Cis ' 
Forester, who sat for Wenlock in Parliament for nearly 
half a century and succeeded to the title in 1874, had been 
a friend of Disraeli's from early years. 

Of the five sisters only Lady Chesterfield and Lady 
Bradford were still living. Lady Chesterfield, who was a 
couple of years older than Disraeli, was the widow of the 
sixth Earl of Chesterfield who had died seven years before. 
Her daughter had married one of the Reform Bill dis- 
sentients, Carnarvon. Lady Bradford was the wife of the 
third Earl of Bradford, a sporting peer, and a man of 

1 See Vol. IV., p. 87. See Vol. II., p. 49. 

2 See Vol. I., pp. 302, 303. 


character and consideration, who had been Disraeli's col- 
league as Lord Chamberlain from 1866 to 1868, and was 
again to be his colleague as Master of the Horse from 1874 
to 1880. She was seventeen years younger than her sister; 
but both ladies were by this time grandmothers. When 
Lady Bradford's eldest son, Lord Newport, was married 
in 1869, Disraeli had written him what his mother called, 
we learn from a note of Corry's of that date, f the nicest let- 
ter in the world, and such a clever one.' 

With both these sisters Disraeli became, during the spring 
and summer of 1873, on terms of intimate friendship. In 
them he found that female sympathy and companionship 
without which life was for him an incomplete thing. That 
they were ladies influential in the fashionable and aristo- 
cratic Tory society which had shown some reluctance to 
admit his undisputed sway as leader counted, no doubt, for 
something with him. That they recalled the memories and 
attachments of his youth, when to be taken up by Lady 
Forester and the bright particular stars of Almack's was 
of importance to him, counted for more with one whose gra- 
titude was lifelong. But, over and above all these considera- 
tions, his personal affection for, and devotion to, both ladies 
were quite unmistakable. Of the circumstances in which 
the intimacy arose he wrote to Lady Chesterfield in the 
autumn, ' Altho,' from paramount duty, I attended Parlia- 
ment this session, I have never been in society, except that 
delightful week when, somehow or other, I found myself 
in the heart of your agreeable family.' The first letter 
to Lady Chesterfield which has been preserved was writ- 
ten in June, 1873, and he was .already on such terms with 
her that he addressed her as l Dearest Lady Ches.' and 
subscribed himself, ' Your most affectionate D.' The first 
letter of the series to Lady Bradford was written in July, 
and in the second, August, she too was ' Dearest Lady Brad- 
ford.' He went to stay in the autumn with the one at 
Bretby and with the other at Weston ; and these visits were 
constantly repeated to the close of his life, and were re- 


turned by the ladies and by Lord Bradford at Hughenden. 
There have been preserved some 500 letters to Lady Chester- 
field in these eight years, and no fewer than 1,100 to Lady 
Bradford ; while the twelve years of his acquaintance with 
Mrs. Brydges Willyams only produced about 250. This 
Bradford-Chesterfield correspondence is absolutely invalu- 
able for a due understanding of Disraeli's final period ; like 
the letters in earlier times to his sister and his wife, it both 
reveals his intimate hopes and feelings, and also describes 
in brilliant fashion, from day to day, at times almost 
from hour to hour, his political and social experiences. 1 
The ladies' letters were destroyed, by their desire, after 
his death. 

So necessary to Disraeli's life was the intimacy thus 
established ' the delightful society,' as he told Lady Ches- 
terfield in March, 1874, 'of the two persons I love most 
in the world ' that he endeavoured to make it permanent 
by asking Lady Chesterfield to marry him, so that he might 
grapple one lady to his heart as his wife, and the other as 
his sister. She not unnaturally refused. Even had she 
been willing, when she had passed her seventieth birthday, 
to marry once more, she must have speedily realised that she 
did not occupy the first place in Disraeli's affections. For 
though it was to Lady Chesterfield, as the only sister who 
was free, that he proposed marriage, it was to Lady Brad- 
ford that he was most tenderly attached. He wrote to her 
more than twice as many letters as he did to her sister, some- 
times, when in office, sending her two, or even three, in one 
day, by special messengers from Downing Street or from 
the Treasury bench. Such messengers, he wrote, * may wait 
at your house the whole day, and are the slaves of your will. 
A messenger from a Prime Minister to a Mistress of the 
Horse cannot say his soul is his own.' Romantic devotion 
breathes in Disraeli's language to both sisters; but the 

i The Duke of Richmond told Cairns on July 27, 1876, that Lady 
Bradford ' seems to know everything, down to the most minute details 
of everything that passes.' 


Oriental extravagance of his sentiments is beyond a doubt 
more marked when he is addressing Lady Bradford. The 
correspondence with Lady Chesterfield, in spite of the offer 
and refusal, preserves on the whole an even tone of deeply 
affectionate friendship. But Lady Bradford was often 
taken aback by Disraeli's septuagenarian ardour, and em- 
barrassed by his incessant calls at her house in Belgrave 
Square and his unending demands on her time; though 
she, as well as her sister, could not but be flattered by the 
assiduous attentions of one who was for the greater part of 
the last eight years of his life the most famous and admired 
man in the country. 

The relation between Disraeli and these sisters can hardly 
fail to recall the relation between Horace Walpole, in the 
last decade of his long life, and the two Miss Berrys. 
There was the same affection in each case for two sisters; 
the same desire to marry one, in order to insure the con- 
stant society of both. The Miss Berrys, however, were in* 
the twenties when Horace Walpole made their acquaintance ; 
whereas Lady Chesterfield was over seventy and Lady Brad- 
ford was in her fifty-fifth year when Disraeli's attachment 
began. But Disraeli's chivalrous devotion to women was 
independent of physical attraction and the appeal of youth. 
Otherwise his elderly wife not to speak of Mou Willyams 
and others would hardly have influenced him as she did 
to the day of her death. Though the Russian Ambassador 
might sneer at the society which Disraeli in his latter years 
affected as toutes grand'meres, it is a most honourable 
feature in his composition that, in his relation to women, 
as in his relation to the problems of life and eternity, he 
rejected absolutely any physical or sensuous standard, and 
poured out his devotion before an ideal, regardless of the 
ravages of care and time. 

The characters of the two sisters were complementary; 
Lady Chesterfield had more strength and constancy, Lady 
Bradford more sweetness and gaiety ; both were sympathetic 
in a high degree. Lady Bradford, as befitted the mother 

1873-1874] DISRAELI'S DEVOTION 243 

of marriageable daughters, was in the full whirl of society, 
a constant attendant at the functions of the London season, 
and at the principal race meetings, moving in the autumn 
from one country house party to another. Lady Cheater- 
field, a much older woman, though taking a fair share of 
social pleasures, was more often to be found, surrounded 
by friends, in her own home at Bretby. Lady Bradford 
had perhaps a quicker appreciation of Disraeli's moods and 
aspirations, but was by no means so certain to respond to 
them as her sister. Writing to Lady Bradford, in January, 
1874, he said of Lady Chesterfield that * the secret of her 
charm is the union of grace and energy ; a union very rare, 
but in her case most felicitous.' Of Lady Bradford's own 
character he wrote to herself in May of that year : l A 
sweet simplicity, blended with high breeding; an intellect 
not over-drilled, but lively, acute, and picturesque ; a sera- 
phic temper, and a disposition infinitely sympathetic 
these are some of the many charms that make you beloved 
of D.' 

The fervid nature of Disraeli's devotion will be realised 
from a letter which he wrote to Lady Bradford three weeks 
after becoming Prime Minister for the second time. She 
and Lady Chesterfield were leaving London for the coun- 
try; and a separation which was only to last from the 
middle of March till the first week of April filled him with 

To Lady Bradford. 

10, DOWNING STREET, WHITEHALL, March 13, 1874. The moat 
fascinating of women was never more delightful than this after- 
noon. I could have sat for ever, watching every movement 
that was grace, and listening to her speaking words but alas ! 
the horrid thought, ever and anon, came over me ' It is a 
farewell visit.' It seemed too cruel! I might have truly said, 

Pleased to the last, I cropped the flowery food, 
And kissed the hand just raised to shed my blood. 

Constant separations! Will they never cease? If anything 
could make me love your delightful sister more than I do, it is 
her plans for Easter, which realise a dream! 


I am certain there is no greater misfortune, than to have a 
heart that will not grow old. It requires all the sternness of 
public life to sustain one. If we have to govern a great country, 
we ought not to be distrait, and feel the restlessness of love. 
Such things should be the appanage of the youthful heroes I 
have so often painted, but alas! I always drew from my own 
experience, and were I to write again to-morrow, I fear I should 
be able to do justice to the most agitating, tho' the most amiable, 
weakness of humanity. 

Writing to Lady Chesterfield of the same farewell visit 
Disraeli said : ' The matchless sisters, as I always call 
them, were never so delightful as yesterday afternoon,' and 
he proceeded to use to her much the same language as to 
Lady Bradford. Lady Chesterfield, the widow, accepted 
the compliment without demur: but Lady Bradford, the 
wife, was offended by the extravagance of his expressions. 
Disraeli assumed, in return, the airs of a despairing lover. 

To Lady Bradford. 

10, DOWNING STREET, March 17, 1874. I sent you a hurried 
line this morning, as I thought it my only opportunity of writ- 
ing, and I did not wish you to think I was silent, because I 
was 'tetchy.' I have just come back from W[indsor], and I 
send you this, because I think it may prevent misapprehension. 

Your view of correspondence, apparently, is that it should 
be confined to. facts, and not admit feelings. Mine is the reverse ; 
and I could as soon keep a journal, wh. I never could do, as 
maintain a correspondence of that kind. 

The other day you said it was wonderful that I cd. write to 
you, with all the work and care I have to encounter. It is 
because my feelings impel me to write to you. It was my duty 
and my delight : the duty of my heart and the delight of my life. 

I do not think I was very unreasonable. I have never asked 
anything from you but your society. When I have that, I am 
content, which I may well be, for its delight is ineffable. When 
we were separated, the loneliness of my life found some relief in 
what might have been a too fond idolatry. 

The menace of perpetual estrangement seemed a severe punish- 
ment for what might have been a weakness, but scarcely an un- 
pardonable one. However you shall have no cause to inflict it. 
I awake from a dream of baffled sympathy, and pour forth my 
feelings, however precious, from a golden goblet, on the sand. 


( I thought all was over between us/ he wrote in his 
next letter; but two days afterwards the difference was 
made up ; ' I found a letter, which took a load off my heart, 
and I pressed it to my lips.' This lovers' comedy was 
repeated with Lady Bradford over and over again during 
the early years of the 1874 Administration. The septu- 
agenarian, who had the governance of the Empire and the 
conduct of the Commons on his shoulders, and who neces- 
sarily was leading a public life of incessant and laborious 
occupation, nevertheless traversed in his private life the 
whole gamut of half-requited love passionate devotion, 
rebuff, despair, resignation, renewed hope, reconciliation, 
ecstasy; and then traversed it da capo. One such crisis 
occurred in connection with a masked ball in the height 
of the season of 1874. 

To Lady Bradford. 

H. OF O., June 29, 1874. I am distressed at the relations 
which have arisen between us, and, after two days' reflection, 
I have resolved to write once more. 

I went to Mantagu House on Friday with great difficulty, to 
see you, and to speak to you on a matter of interest to me. I 
thought your manner was chilling: you appeared to avoid me, 
and when perhaps somewhat intrusively, but I had no other 
chance, for I saw you were on the point of quitting me I 
suggested some mode by which we might recognise each other 
at the ball, you only advised me not to go! 

Your feelings to me are not the same as mine have been to 
you. That is natural and reasonable. Mine make me sensitive 
and perhaps exigeant, and render my society in public embarrass- 
ing to you, and therefore not agreeable. Unfortunately for me, 
my imagination did not desert me with my youth. I have always 
felt this a great misfortune. It would have involved me in 
calamities, bad not nature bestowed on me, and in a large degree, 
another quality the sense of the ridiculous. 

That has given me many intimations, during some months; 
but, in the turbulence of my heart, I was deaf to them. Re- 
flection, however, is irresistible ; and I cannot resist certainly the 
conviction that much in my conduct to you, during this year, 
has been absurd. 

On Friday night, I had written to you to forget it, and to 


forget me. But I linger round the tie on which I had staked 
my happiness. You may deride my weakness, but I wished 
you to know my inward thoughts, and that you should not think 
of me as one who was ungrateful or capricious. 

2, WHITEHALL GARDENS, Wedy. [? July 1]. Your note has 
just reached me. It w*as unexpected and delightful. I am 
touched by your writing so spontaneously, for my stupid words 
did not deserve a response. ... I am glad you think I am 
1 better and wiser of late.' I feel I am changed, but I am much 

Thursday [July 2, 1874]. . . . I regret to tell you that my 
enemy attacked me in the night, and I am obliged to go down 
to the Ho. of C. in a black velvet shoe, of Venetian fashion, 
part of my dress for that unhappy masqued ball, my absence 
from wh. causes such endless inquiries wh. exhaust even my 
imagination for replies. . . . 

Lady .Chesterfield was in the secret of this misunder- 
standing, and to her Disraeli humorously explained how 
he had obtained a pleasant revenge for Lady Bradford's 
treatment of him. 

To Anne Lady Chesterfield. 

2, WHITEHALL GARDENS, Thursday [July 9, 1874]. . . . Yes- 
terday was very agreeable at the Palace. I found a seat next 
to Selina, and I took her to supper. She was standing by me 
in the royal circle, when the P. of Wales, Princess, Princess 
Mary, and others, came up in turn, and asked why I had not been 
at the masqued ball. I said to some, ' It was a secret, and 
that I was bound not to tell.' I said to the Princess of Wales, 
that I was dressed in my domino and about to go, when a fair 
Venetian gave me a goblet of aqua tofana, and I sank to the 
ground in a state of asphyxia. Selina heard all this! . . . 

Here is another self -revealing letter after a rebuff : 

To Lady Bradford. 

2, WHITEHALL GARDENS, Aug. 3, 1874. . . . To love as I love, 
and rarely to see the being one adores, whose constant society 
is absolutely necessary to my life ; to be precluded even from the 
only shadowy compensation for such a torturing doom the 
privilege of relieving my heart by expressing its affection is 
a lot which I never could endure, and cannot. 

1874-1875] JEALOUS AFFECTION 247 

But for my strange position, wh. enslaves, while it elevates, 
me, I would fly for ever, as I often contemplate, to some beauti- 
ful solitude, and relieve, in ideal creation, the burthen of such 
a dark and harassing existence. But the iron laws of a stern 
necessity seen to control our lives, and with all the daring and 
all the imagination in the world, conscious or unconscious, we 
are slaves. . . . 

This is rather a long scribblement : pardon that, for it is prob- 
ably one of the last letters I shall ever send you. My mind is 
greatly disturbed and dissatisfied. I require perfect solitude or 
perfect sympathy. My present life gives me neither of these 
ineffable blessings. It may be brilliant, but it is too fragmen- 
tary. It is not a complete existence. It gives me neither the 
highest development of the intellect or the heart; neither Poetry 
nor Love. 

And here, from the correspondence of 1875, are letters 
betraying various moods of jealous and unsatisfied affec- 

To Lady Bradford. 

2, WHITEHALL GARDENS, Feb. 24, 1875. I should grieve if the 
being to whom I am entirely devoted shd. believe for a moment 
that I am unreasonable and capricious. Therefore I will con- 
dense in a few lines a remark or two on a topic to which I hope 
never to recur. 

You have said that I prefer your letters to your society. On 
the contrary, a single interview with you is worth a hundred 
even of your letters, tho' they have been, for more than a year, 
the charm and consolation of my life. But I confess I have 
found a contrast between yr. letters and yr. general demeanor 
to me, which has often perplexed, and sometimes pained, me: 
and it is only in recurring to those letters that I have found 

Something happened a little while ago, wh., according to my 
sad interpretation, threw a light over this contrariety; but it 
was a light wh. revealed, at the same time, the ruin of my heart 
and hopes. I will not tell you how much I have suffered. I 
became quite dejected, and could scarcely carry on public affairs. 

But the sweetness of your appeal to me yesterday, and the 
radiant innocence of yr. countenance, entirely overcame me; 
and convinced me that I had misapprehended the past, and that 
the mutual affection, on wh. I had staked the happiness of my 
remaining days, was not a dream. 


March 21. . . . It [a letter Disraeli wished to show Lady 
Bradford] will keep till my next visit after yr. return from 
France, if you ever do return, and if ever I pay you another 
visit. These things much depend on habit, unless there is a 
very strong feeling such as sincerely actuated me when, last 
year, I said I cd. not contemplate life without seeing you every 
day. I feel very much like poor King Lear with his knights; 
half my retinue was cut down before you went to Kimbolton: 
' three times a week ' was then accorded me. When you return 
from your foreign travel, wh. wonderfully clears the brain of 
former impressions, there will be a further reduction of my 
days; till, at last, the dreary and inevitable question comes, 
'Why one?' 

Don't misunderstand this. This is not what you call a ' scold- 
ing.' It is misery: that horrible desolation wh. the lonely alone 
can feel. . . . 

I have given this morning the Constableship of the Tower 
to General Sir Chas. Yorke, G.C.B. I keep the Isle of Man 
still open : open till you have quite broken my heart. 

July 4. . . . I hardly had a word with you to-day, and cd. 
not talk of to-morrow! I wonder if I shall see you to-morrow! 
Not to see you is a world without a sun. . . . 

I wonder whom you will sit bet [wee] n to-day, and talk to, 
and delight and fascinate. I am always afraid of your dining 
at houses like Gerard's, in my absence. I feel horribly jeal[ous] ; 

I cannot help it. 

In such moods I sometimes read what was written to me only 
a year ago tho' that's a long time words written by a 
sylph, 'Have confidence in me, believe in me, believe that I am 
true oh ! how true ! ' 

Even if one cannot believe these words, it is something to 
have them to read and to bless the being who wrote them. 

Make what discount we may for Disraeli's tendency to 
extravagance and exaggeration, especially in his address 
to women, it is impossible, after reading his letters to 
Lady Bradford, to doubt the reality and depth, of his at- 
tachment. During one year, 1874, we find such expres- 
sions as the following : ' To see you, or at least to hear 
from you, every day, is absolutely necessary to my existence.' 

I 1 have lived to know the twilight of love has its splendor 
and its richness.' ' To see you in society is a pleasure 
peculiar to itself; but different from that of seeing you 


From a portrait after Sir F. Grant, P.R.A., at Hughenden. 

1874-1875] SELINA 'THE MOON' 249 

alone; both are enchanting, like moonlight and sunshine.' 
' It is not " a slice of the moon" I want; I want it all.' 
Playful references of this kind to the meaning in Greek 
of Lady Bradford's Christian name Selina ' the moon ' 
are plentiful in the correspondence. In one letter Dis- 
raeli explained the different nature of his feelings towards 
the two sisters. 

To Lady Bradford. 

2, WHITEHALL GARDENS, Nov. 3, 1874. . . . I am sorry your 
sister is coming to town. She will arrive when I am absorbed 
with affairs, and will apparently be neglected and will probably 
think so. This will add to my annoyances, for I have a great 
regard for her. I love her, not only because she is your sister 
and a link between us, but because she has many charming 
qualities. But when you have the government of a country on 
your shoulders, to love a person and to be in love with a person 
makes all the difference. In the first case, everything that dis- 
tracts your mind from yr. great purpose, weakens and wearies 
you. In the second instance, the difficulty of seeing your beloved, 
or communicating with her, only animates and excites you. I 
have devised schemes of seeing, or writing to, you in the midst 
of stately councils, and the thought and memory of you, instead 
of being an obstacle, has been to me an inspiration. 

You said in one of yr. letters that I complained that you did 
not appreciate me. Never! Such a remark, on my part, wd. 
have been, in the highest degree, conceited and coxcombical. 
What I said was: You did not appreciate my love; that is to 
say, you did not justly estimate either its fervor or its depth. 

The affection between Disraeli and Lady Chesterfield had 
none of the alternations of hot and cold that marked his 
relation with her sister. Here there was steady warmth 
and steady devotion; and he could always count upon con- 
solation from her when, as often happened, he was rebuffed 
by what he called Lady Bradford's ' irresistible, but cold, 
control.' Though his passion was less, yet in his method 
of address he was more ardent to Lady Chesterfield than to 
the other. The letters to Lady Bradford generally start 
without any prefatory endearments; but Lady Chesterfield 
was ' dearest, dearest Lady Ches./ ' dearest of women,' 
' charming playfellow,' and finally, in most of the letters 


after the first year or two, ' dear darling ' ; and we find such 
expressions as ' whatever happens to me in the world I 
shall always love you ' ; and after an attack of gout at 
Bretby, ' Adieu, dear and darling friend, I have no language 
to express to you my entire affection.' It might not always 
suit Lady Bradford to have him at Weston or Castle Brom- 
wich ; but Bretby was constantly open to him, and his table 
in London and at Hughenden was regularly furnished with 
the produce of its gardens, its dairy, its poultry farm, and 
its coverts. ' My dearest, darling friend/ he wrote on one 
occasion to Lady Chesterfield, 'you literally scatter flowers 
and fruit over my existence.' 

To Anne Lady Chesterfield. 

2, WHITEHALL GARDENS, March 6, 1875. . . . It is a long 
time since [Contarini Fleming] was born some years before I 
had the pleasure of meeting you at Wycombe Abbey, and fell 
in love with your brilliant eyes flashing with grace and triumph 
and wh. cd. hardly spare a glance, then, to poor me. But 
now I am rewarded for my early homage, and, amid the cares 
of empire, can find solace in cherishing your sweet affections. . . . 

Such was the nature of the attachments that gave bright- 
ness and colour to the last eight years of Disraeli's life. 
It must not be supposed that there was in them any unfaith- 
fulness to the memory of a wife who had herself laid on 
him her injunctions to find consolation in others. He never 
forgot her and his happiness with her; his poignant regret 
and his loneliness without her are the frequent theme of 
his letters. On one Queen's birthday during his great 
Ministry he was looking with Lord Redesdale at the elaborate 
preparations for his official banquet, ' when all of a sudden,' 
his companion tells us, * he turned round, his eyes were dim, 
and his voice husky, as he said, " Ah ! my dear fellow, you 
are happy, you have a wife." He always maintained 
the signs of mourning; the whole of his correspondence 
with the sisters, as with others, save on a few occasions 
when, being away from home, he had to fall back on local 
stationery, was written on paper with a deep black edging ; 


nor did he feel that there was any incongruity in inscribing 
protestations of devotion to the living on pages which re- 
called by their very appearance the memory of the dead. 

To Lady Bradford. 

HUGHENDEN MANOR, Sept. 27, 1875. . . . You said you were 
glad to see ' white paper ' the other day. It is strange, but I 
always used to think that the Queen, persisting in these emblems 
of woe, indulged in a morbid sentiment; and yet it has become 
my lot, and seemingly an irresistible one. I lost one who was 
literally devoted to me, tho' I was not altog[ethe]r worthy of 
her devotion; and when I have been on the point sometimes of 
terminating this emblem of my bereavement, the thought that 
there was no longer any being in the world to whom I was an 
object of concentrated feeling overcame me, and the sign re- 

Once perhaps twice during the last two years, I have 
indulged in a wild thought it might -be otherwise; and then 
something has always occurred, wh. has dashed me to the 
earth. ... . 

These new sentimental relations were springing up during 
the second portion of the session of 1873, after the reluctant 
return of the discredited Ministers to their places. In 
the House of Commons Disraeli continued on the whole his 
policy of reserve, assured that his opportunity must come 
before long. His main political activity was behind the 
scenes, preparing with his whips and his party manager for 
a dissolution which could hardly be postponed beyond the 
next year, rather than in the House itself where there was 
not much contentious business. 

To Montagu Corry. 

April 5, '73. It will be impossible to get a Tory majority, 
if lukewarmness, or selfishness of those who have a safe seat, 
prevent contests. There are more than 30 seats in this predica- 
ment, and I have appointed a small committee of men of social 
influence to take them in hand: Lord J. Manners, Barrington, 
Chaplin or Mahon. 

I hope you are better. I am well enough, but wretchedly 
low-spirited. . . . 


To William, Hart DyJee. 

HUGHENDEN MANOR, April 15, 1873. . . . Lady Derby writes 
to me this morning, that she means to give assemblies on 29th 
inst. and 6th May, and if somebody could send her a list of names 
to St. Jas. Sqre., marked to be forwarded, she would work at 
the list. If, therefore, you could forward her a catalogue of 
the M.Ps., their wives and dau[ghte]rs, that 'she would do well 
to invite,' business wd. be advanced. 

I think, from what Miladi said to me when I last saw her, 
that she wished a little discretion to be exercised in the trans- 
action. An overplus of quizzes neutralises the distinction, and 
it is better that she shd. be encouraged to give more parties than 
to swamp her good intentions and make her feel her receptions 
are a failure. 

To Montagu Corry. 

May 17, '73. The Government continues in a discredited 
state, but we have not availed ourselves, as much as we ought 
to have done, of several recent opportunities. The causes, or 
probable causes, of this, I must keep till we meet. It seems that 
the Ministry will totter through the session, though at present, 
the decomposition of ' the great Liberal party ' is complete. It 
still keeps, on the surface, together, from the hope, I think a 
vain one, that ' something will turn up ' for them : the last 
resource of imbecility and exhaustion. 

I am not particularly well, and sent for Leggatt to-day, and 
am now a prisoner, besieged by this scathing easterly wind. . . . 

Such, incursions as Disraeli made in debate had a dis- 
tinctly electioneering flavour. When the Budget was dis- 
cussed, he delivered a lively attack on Lowe's finance, partly 
with a view to deride that eminent anti-Reformer's pose as 
the friend of the working man, and partly in the interest of 
that relief of local taxation which the party had championed 
with success in the previous year. But his most interesting 
speech was made in opposition to Osborne Morgan's Burials 
Bill, which proposed to open the parish churchyards to Dis- 
senting funerals. His view was that by refusing to pay 
church rates the Dissenters had publicly recognised that 
the churches and churchyard belonged to churchmen; and 
therefore if they wished to use the parish churchyards, that 
use must be, by every principle of law and equity, upon 


the conditions imposed by those to whom they belonged. 
He ended his speech by some earnest words of advice to his 
Nonconformist fellow-countrymen. Lord Grey's Reform 
Act, he said, had given them great power, which in many 
cases they had used wisely. 

So long as they maintained toleration, so long as they favoured 
religious liberty, so long as they checked sacerdotal arrogance, 
they acted according to their traditions, and those traditions are 
not the least noble in the history of England. But they have 
changed their position. They now make war, and avowedly 
make war, upon the ecclesiastical institutions of this country. 1 
I think they are in error in pursuing that course. I believe 
it not to be for their own interest. However ambiguous and dis- 
cursive may be the superficial aspects of the religious life of this 
country, the English are essentially a religious people, . . . 
They look upon [the Church] instinctively as an institution 
which vindicates the spiritual nature of man, and as a city of 
refuge in the strife and sorrows of existence. 

I want my Nonconformist friends to remember that another 
Act of Parliament has been passed affecting the circumstances 
of England since the Act of 1832. It appeals to the heart of the 
country. It aims at emancipation from undue sectarian in- 
fluence; and I do not think that the Nonconformist body will 
for the future exercise that undue influence upon the returns to 
this House, which they have now for forty years employed. . . . 
Let them not be misled by the last General Election. The 
vast majority arrayed against us was not returned by the new 
constituencies. It was the traditional and admirable organisa- 
tion of the Dissenters of England that effected the triumph of 
the right hon. gentleman. They were animated by a great motive 
to enthusiasm. They saw before them the destruction of a 
church. I do not think that, at the next appeal to the people, 
the Nonconformist body will find that the same result can be 
obtained. I say not this by way of taunt, certainly not in a 
spirit of anticipated triumph. I say it because I wish the Non- 
conformist body to pause and think, and to feel that for the 
future it may be better for them, instead of assailing the Church, 
to find in it a faithful and sound ally. There is a common enemy 
abroad to all churches and to all religious bodies. Their opin- 
ions rage on the Continent. Their poisonous distillations have 
entered even into this isle. 

i Miall, the Nonconformist spokesman in Parliament, regularly in- 
troduced motions for the disestablishment of the English Church. 


The Dissenters, distracted by the controversies over the 
Education Act, were not a determining force in the 1874 
election. But their enthusiastic support of Gladstone's bag 
and baggage policy went far to settle the result in 1880, and, 
a quarter of a century later, their campaign of passive 
resistance was certainly one of the causes which helped in 
the decisive overthrow of the Unionists under Mr. Balfour. 
On the other hand, the life seems to have gone out of the 
disestablishment movement, save in regard to Wales; and 
it "is noteworthy that the Dissenters have never been able 
to secure, during many years of Parliaments in which their 
friends have always had a considerable majority, that 
educational arrangement with a view to which they exerted 
themselves so strenuously in 1906. 

As the session drew to a close there was a painful out- 
crop of administrative scandals mainly affecting mail con- 
tracts and telegraphic extension. Disraeli, true to his prac- 
tice of avoiding personal squabbles, took little or no part 
in the discussion of matters which reflected seriously on three 
important members of the Government. The main achieve- 
ment of Ministers was the Judicature Act for the reorgan- 
isation of the Courts of Law and Equity. A curious ques- 
tion of privilege arose during the passage of this measure. 
The Commons made an amendment which no less an au- 
thority than Cairns declared to be a breach of the Lords' 
privileges. It was rather a storm in a teacup, but it gave 
Disraeli an opportunity to show his quality. 

To Lord Cairns. 

12, GEORGE STREET, HANOVER SQUARE, July 15. Misled by 
Gladstone, who bewildered me in the most Jesuitical manner, I 
dined at Grillion's, and lingered there, and was going home when 
I heard Frdk. Cavendish, G.'s private secretary, say to Hardy 
' about this time the privilege is on.' Hardy seemed astonished, 
and maintained it was impossible. However I thought I would 
go down to the House. I found it on, and nearly finished, and 
G. was concluding when I entered, with my wits scarcely col- 
lected. However, I went at it, and tho' I should have spoken 
much better, if I had remained at the House, and went almost 


breathless into battle, I still got the materials of the case fairly 
out, and am now going down to the House to resume the fight 
if G. chooses. 

From Lord Cairns. 

5, CROMWELL HOUSES, W., July 15, 1873. I think the dinner 
at Grillion's must have been a most happy preparation for the 
speech: at all events, nothing could, in my opinion, have been 
more successful in at once putting before the House the sub- 
stance and truth of the precedents; in maintaining the proper 
attitude of the House of Commons on such an occasion; and 
in covering the Govt. with ridicule for their terror-stricken and 
undignified attitude. 

As soon as the session was over Gladstone effected a 
very considerable reconstruction of his Government. The 
Ministers chiefly concerned in the Post Office irregularities, 
of whom Lowe was one, could not remain longer in their 
existing places ; and, in the course of the shuffle, Gladstone 
took himself the Chancellorship of the Exchequer in addi- 
tion to his previous office, and Bright, who had a year or two 
before left the Cabinet owing to ill-health, re-entered it as 
Chancellor of the Duchy. But nothing could stem the un- 
popularity of the Government. They continued during the 
autumn to lose seat after seat at by-elections : in August, at 
Shaftesbury, East Staffordshire, and Greenwich ; in Septem- 
ber, at Dover and in Renfrewshire; in October, at Hull; 
and in December, at Exeter. Many of the vacancies were 
caused by Ministerial promotions, so that the verdict of 
public opinion was particularly marked and particularly 

Disraeli went down to Hughenden before the end of 
July, and spent a quiet time in examining and sorting his 
own papers and his wife's; burrowing among those treas- 
ures which have formed the basis of this biography. His 
letters to old and new friends show both how he felt his 
loneliness in the country home of his wedded life, and the 
way in which he regarded the political scene, in which, for 
many weeks, he refused to take an active part. 


To Montagu Corry. 

HUGHENDEN, July 30. I came down here with a resolve to 
get the house in complete order, and worked yesterday to my 
satisfaction. This morning I determined, with all the keys, to 
grapple with the bird's nest imbroglio. The first thing I wanted 
were her private papers, etc., which I thought were stowed in one 
of the new tin boxes. I have opened four, all there, but cannot 
find them: nothing, apparently, but scraps and chaos. I am 
now exhausted, and have given up the task, for the day at least. 

Can you throw any light on the matter? . . . 

Aug. 1. . . . The Government really seems on its last legs. 
'They can gain no laurels in the recess. That must be spent in 
apologies, and explanations; especially of the discomfitures and 
imbroglios of the last fortnight of the session. They will, prob- 
ably, also lose every election, that occurs before the reassembling 
of Parliament. 

The weather here is delicious, and I have also plenty to amuse 
me in the house, in trying to get the library into perfect order, 
arranging pictures and so on; but my great business must be the 
papers, and I am about to set at them again forthwith. I shall 
not be content until the house is in perfect order. . . . 

Aug. 3. . . . I found the missing papers, and continue at 
work at their companions between two and three hours each 
day. I cannot manage more. The progress is not encouraging, 
but I feel, if I missed this opportunity in my life, I should 
probably never have another. 

She does not appear to have destroyed a single scrap I ever 
wrote to her, before or after marriage, and never to have cut 
my hair, which she did every two or three weeks for 33 years, 
without garnering the harvest; so, as you once asked for some 
of an early date, I send you a packet, of which I could not 
break the seal. 

There are missing at present two Russian sabres, which Lord 
Strangford left me, and a long yataghan in a crimson velvet 
scabbard. These arms were too long to be packed up with 
the other daggers. Can you throw any light on them? You 
can on most things. 

Aug. 10. Hardy writes ' What does it all mean ? Dissolution, 
or a more radical policy ? ' 

My opinion is, that instead of dissolution, it is merely a 
diversion to escape dissolution, which was inevitable, had they 
not done something. But their reconstruction is only a sham, 
and the idea of being saved by the return of that hysterical old 


spouter, Bright, is absurd. As for a policy, they are much too 
flustered to have any. 

These great events are exciting, especially the elections, and 
one wants something. The business of my life is a most melan- 
choly one. I only finished arranging her personal papers yes- 
terday: and she has died for me 100 times in the heartrending, 
but absolutely inevitable, process. 

To Lord John Manners. 

HUGHENDEN MANOR, Aug. 28, '73. A letter from a friend is 
like the sight of a sail to one on a desert isle ; but when it comes 
from the best and dearest of friends, it is cheering indeed. 

I have been here since the last days of July, and have never 
been out of the grounds. With one or two casual exceptions, I 
have never spoken to a human being. Among the casuals, be- 
tween ourselves, was Sir Arthur Helps, on his way to Balmoral : 
a royal reconnaissance. It is a dreary life, but I find society, 
without sympathy, drearier. 

As for my health, it is perfect. I have been often told, and 
I have sometimes thought, that the bronchial disturbance from 
which I suffered, was a gouty symptom: and so, two years ago, I 
left off sugar, and with advantage. For a month and more I 
have now lived without wine, and my cure seems complete 
Some stimulus is requisite, but the Lord Rector of a Scotch 
University has not far to seek for the necessary restorative, tho' 
it must be kept a secret from the more delicate Southrons. 

I am greatly amused with the fast-drifting incidents of the 
political scene, and so, I suspect, are some others of higher 
mettle. I don't suppose, that Gladstone, at present, has decided 
on any course whatever, but he will not go out without attempt- 
ing something. I hear he is deeply mortified by the utter 
destruction of the prestige of his Administration, and that his 
only thought now is to, what they call, re-habilitate it, before it 
disappears. He will find this a hard task. . . . 

To Lady Bradford. 

HUGHENDEN MANOR, Aug. 29, 1873. . . . I hope your visit 
to Windermere has been enchanting. They say the weather 
has been fitful in England generally, but here we have had a 
summer of romance 

On Wednesday last, I received from the lady an announce- 
ment of the immediately impending event, 1 ' as you have always 

i Lady Cardigan's marriage to the Count de Lancastre. Lady Car- 


taken so kind an interest in my welfare.' One can scarcely 
congratulate, but may sincerely wish her every happiness. It 
sounds very bad. . . . 

To Anne Lady Chesterfield. 

HUGHENDEN MANOR, Sept. 8, 1873. . . . I expected, when I 
saw the Queen in March, the decomposition of the Ministry, but 
it has been more complete than I contemplated. Had Gladstone 
then gone out, uncommitted on either Church or education, and 
the squabbles of his colleagues unknown, he would have gone 
out with almost undiminished prestige, and would soon have 
rallied. The firm is now insolvent, and will soon be bankrupt. 
When the Tories return, it will be their own fault if their reign 
be not long and glorious. j/". . 

To Sir Stafford Northcote. 

Confidential. HUGHENDEN MANOR, Sept. 11, 1873. You can- 
not take too decided a line about Ashantee, barring prophecies, 
like Lowe, of the indubitable failure of the expedition. The 
great point to insist on, after indicating the dangers and the 
chances of failure, is the want of analogy between the Ashantee 
and the Abyssinian cases. What is the cause of quarrel? If 
the Ash. want commercial access to the coast, wh. they always 
used to have, their claim does not seem unreasonable : a matter 
certainly that ought to admit of arrangement. . . . 

The country is deadly to Europeans. Black troops may live 
in it, but, then, they won't fight. But above all there are no 

digan's story in her Recollections that Disraeli himself made her an 
offer of marriage may safely be disregarded. Apart from the im- 
probability of a statesman in Disraeli's position desiring to marry a 
woman of a somewhat equivocal reputation, there were only eight 
months between December, 1872, when he became a widower, and 
August, 1873, when she married a second time in which a proposal 
of marriage was possible from him to her; and these were months 
when he was forming other attachments. She narrows the time still 
more by placing the occurrence in the hunting season in other 
words, very shortly indeed after Lady Beaconsfield's death. By way 
of corroboration she states that she asked and obtained the advice 
of the then Prince of Wales, whom she encountered at a meet at 
Belvoir, whether she should accept; but, when the book was pub- 
lished, King Edward told his personal friends that no such conversa- 
tion had taken place. It is, of course, possible that there was a ques- 
tion of marriage between Lady Cardigan and Disraeli in the sense that 
she proposed to him and he declined. There is, certainly, in the 
Recollections a striking exhibition of spite against Lady Bradford, as 
well as a tendency to disparage Disraeli. Moreover, there is reason 
to believe that there were other ladies of wealth and position who gave 
Disraeli to understand, at this period, that they were ready to unite 
their lot with his. 


prisoners to rescue. If we get there, what is the gain? If 
we are beaten by the climate, wh. is on the cards, are we to sit 
down with a defeat, or is there to be another expedition; more 
lives thrown away and more money? 

There cannot be a more unprofitable, and more inglorious 
quarrel. All the motives of the Abyssinian expedition are want- 
ing, and all the circumstances are different. Lord Derby writes 
me that he met Lowe, who made no scruple of saying that he 
had not been consulted, and did not know what his colleagues 
were about! So much for Ash.! 

As to the general politics, I think it highly desirable that you 
should notice the misconception of my expression of the necessity 
of our knowing the situation and engagements of the Govt. 
before we could decide on our policy on several foreign subjects 
of pressing importance. Nothing can be better than what you 
propose to say on this head. As to our general policy, it is to 
uphold the institutions of the country, and to arrest that course 
of feverish criticism and unnecessary change, too long in vogue. 
I would not too much insist on our policy being essentially de- 
fensive, because they always make out that means being station- 
ary. If pressed about reduction of county suffrage, or unable 
to avoid it, take the ground that constant change in the distribu- 
tion of power is in itself an evil; that the measure of 1868 is 
only just digested; that it has been followed by the ballot, hardly 
yet tried; that we have no reason to fear extension of the fran- 
chise to properly qualified classes, but that any large increase 
of either the boro' or the county constituency cannot be con- 
sidered alone; that the latter must lead to a considerable dis- 
f ranchisement of the towns from 30, [000] to 10,000 inhab. ; that, 
tho' this may not be immediately unfavorable to the Cons, cause, 
you are not prepared, without deep consideration and clear 
necessity, to diminish, to a great extent, the influence of urban 
populations in our system of Govt., being one favorable to public 
liberty and enlightenment. . . . 

For the last month, I have not interchanged a word with a 
human being. It is a dreary life, but I find society drearier. 
I have realised what are the feelings of a prisoner of State of 
a high class: the fellow in the Iron Masque, and so on. I have 
parks and gardens, and pictures and books, and everything to 
charm and amuse, except the human face and voice divine. I 
really have never been out of my own grounds. However, my 
imprisonment is nearly at an end, for towards the close of this 
month I am going to the Bradfords in Shropshire. I hope I 
shall be able to behave myself in civilised society . . . 


To Montagu Carry. 

HUGHENDEN, Sept. 14, 1873. . . . All that we have seen, or 
I have told you, of the correspondence, is nothing to what has 
since transpired. I am amazed! I should think at least 5,000 
letters in addition to all I had examined: and apparently, more 
important and interesting than any. Nothing seems to have 
escaped her. Many letters of Metternich, Thiers, Brougham. 
I should say 100 of Bulwer : as many of Stanley, beginning with 
Trinity College, Cambridge; enough of George Smythe for three 
volumes, and I dare say not a line in them not as good as 
Horace Walpole. The whole of Lady Londonderry's correspon- 
dence I dare say 100 letters ! Among them, I saw a packet 
more than a doz. from Butt. Many of D'Orsay : his last letter 
written in pencil, just before his death, on hearing that I was 
C. of E[xcheque]r and leader of the H. of C. The last letter 
received from Lady Blessington a most interesting one. It 
is the only one I have read: if I had once indulged in reading 
them, I never should have licked them into any form. 

To Lady Bradford. 

BEDFORD, BRIGHTON, Sept. 24, 1873. . . . You will be a little 
surprised at my date; but after two months of solitude, with 
everything to charm except the greatest of charms, the human 
face and voice divine, I thought London might be a relief. It 
was intolerable, so I came down here. It might have succeeded, 
for I found our friends, the Sturts, 1 here, and in the same hotel. 
She is ever pleasing, and his wondrous rattle is as good as 
champaign [stc] ; but alas ! she fell ill, and fancied it was the 
fault of Brighton, and they went off at a moment's notice. 

Yesterday the Brunnows found me out, and took me home to 
dine with them, quite alone. I sate between the Ambassador 
and Madame. No other guest, not even a soils-secretaire of 
embassy. We had six servants in the room, and a wondrous 
repast, which, as I live on a ' spare radish,' was rather embarrass- 
ing. They were kind but it was not lively, tho' I was amused 
by the great excitement of Brunnow as to English politics, 
which he flattered himself he concealed. He was always re- 
curring to the Dover election which made a great sensation 
here. We had telegraphs of the poll every hour, and at ten 
o'ck. they gave me a serenade, or a chorale, the most beautiful 
thing I ever heard. No one knows who were the serenaders; 
they say a private musical society. Not, certainly, the Christie 

i Afterwards Lord and Lady Alington. 


[sic'] minstrels, who all take off their hats to me when I pass: 
which is awkward, as I was told I should be as unnoticed here 
in September, as in the woods of Hughenden. 

My kind remembrances to Lord Bradford. 

I cannot express to you the delight I anticipate from seeing 
you again. It seems to me that the only happy hours I have 
had in this melancholy year are due to your charming society. 

The visits to Lord and Lady Bradford at Weston and 
to Lady Chesterfield at Bretby followed, and confirmed 
him in his devotion to both ladies, though he protested to 
a friend that he did not really enjoy this country-house visit- 

To Lord Henry Lennox. 

WESTON, SHIFNAL, Oct. 2, '73. . . . I hope you have not given 
up your Bretby visit, and that we shall meet on Monday. I am 
not very much inclined to it, and rather count on your help. 
The fact is, visiting does not suit me, and I have pretty well 
made up my mind, after this year, to give up what is called 
society, and confine myself solely to public life. The only con- 
solation I have is, that my health is good; as, doubtless, we 
have some coming scenes, that will try both our nerves and 

I linger on here, boring and bored, notwithstanding a charm- 
ing hostess, on whom I feel myself a tax. I could not make 
my other visits * fit in without postponing my arrival at Bretby 
for a couple of days. And this, I thought, under all circum- 
stances, would be too great a liberty. 

The Weston visit was notable for Disraeli's last experi- 
ment in riding to hounds. He never rode at all at Hugh- 
enden, and, indeed, is only recorded to have crossed a horse 
twice in the past quarter of a century: once when Lord 
Galway's guest at Serlby in 1853, and again when Lord Wil- 
ton showed him the Belvoir hounds in 1869. 2 In these cir- 
cumstances it argued great pluck in a man nearly sixty- 
nine to accept an invitation to go cub-hunting at Chilling- 
ton, five miles from Weston. He rode a little chestnut 
hack, remained in the saddle three or four hours, and was 

i One of these was to Knowaley. 

* See Meynell's Disraeli, Vol L, p. 177. 


so exhausted that he actually reeled against the stable wall 
when he dismounted. 

While Disraeli was at Weston, there was an election con- 
test proceeding at Bath, the third in the course of the year. 
At the beginning of the Parliament Bath had been rep- 
resented by two Liberals. Both had died, one after the 
other, this spring, and each seat in turn had been won for 
the Conservatives. Now one of the new members, Lord 
Chelsea, had succeeded to the peerage; and to Lord Grey 
de Wilton, the Conservative candidate for the vacancy, a 
personal friend of his own, Disraeli wrote for publication 
from Weston on October 3 : 

For nearly five years the present Ministers have harassed every 
trade, worried every profession, and assailed or menaced every 
class, institution, and species of property in the country. Oc- 
casionally they have varied this state of civil warfare by per- 
petrating some job which outraged public opinion, or by stum- 
bling into mistakes which have been always discreditable, and 
sometimes ruinous. All tbis they call a policy, and seem quite 
proud of it; but the country has, I think, made up its mind to 
close this career of plundering and blundering. 1 

It was a full-blooded letter, conceived in the hustings 
spirit, but it only restated, in pointed fashion, charges which 
Disraeli had often brought against Ministers in public 
speeches and across the table of the House of Commons. 
A vehement outcry was, however, raised against its tone and 
language ; and even many of his own party attributed to this 
indiscretion Grey de Wilton's failure by a small majority 
to retain the seat which Chelsea had won by a majority 
somewhat similar. Disraeli, at any rate, was quite im- 

To Anne Lady Chesterfield. 

HUGHENDEN MANOR, Oct. 24, 1873. . . . The storm against 
my letter to Grey was quite factitious; got up by a knot of 
clever Liberal journalists, who bad, they thought, an opportunity. 
It has quite evaporated, and from the number of letters I daily 
receive about it, from all parts of the country, and from the 

i Disraeli had used the phrase before, in Coningsby, Bk. II., ch. 4. 

1873] THE BATH LETTER 263 

quotations from it daily cropping up in the press, I have no 
doubt it will effect the purpose for which it was written. 

I wished to give a condensed, but strictly accurate, summary 
of the career of the Gladstone Ministry. There is not an ex- 
pression which was not well weighed, and which I could not 
justify by ample, and even abounding, evidence. Lord Salis- 
bury, 1 and the Hull election, together, will effectively silence 
my critics. . . . 

Disraeli went in the following month to Glasgow, and 
there defended himself in detail. Ministers might sigh, 
he said, and newspapers might scream, but the question 
was, Was the statement a true one? It was no answer to 
say * Oh, fie ! how very rude ! ' He maintained that he 
had written the history of a Ministry that had lasted five 
years and had immortalised the spirit of their policy in five 

The occasion of Disraeli's visit to Glasgow was that he 
might be installed Lord Rector of the University, and might 
thereupon deliver his address to the students who had 
elected him two years before, but who had been deprived of 
the treat of seeing and hearing him in the previous autumn 
by Lady Beaconsfield's last illness. Many other functions, 
however, were planned to welcome the man of the hour to 
the Clyde. Writing to Lord Barrington a few days before- 
hand he said the expedition was ' assuming colossal propor- 
tions. . . . My plans assume that I shall return to England 
alive; when I see the programme of the Glasgow week, it 
seems doubtful. Nothing can be more inhuman ; and if there 
were a society to protect public men, as there is to protect 
donkeys, some interference would undoubtedly take place.' 

Few statesmen were more qualified by sympathy and ex- 
perience to give advice to youth. He had never ceased 
to be young in feeling, and to feel for the young; and he 
himself was a dazzling example of what resolute and as- 
piring youth could achieve. He impressed upon his hear- 
ers at Glasgow the necessity, in order to succeed in life, for 

1 Who had written an article in the current number of the Quarterly 
Review, strongly criticising ' The programme of the Radicals.' 


two kinds of knowledge - first self-knowledge, and then 
knowledge of the spirit of the age. Self-knowledge, he 
told them, could not be obtained with certainty either in 
the family circle, or from the judgment of one's fellows, 
or from that of one's tutors; but from self-communion. 
The young would make many errors and experience much 
self-deception; it was their business to learn the lesson of 
their mistakes, and to accept the consequences with cour- 
age and candour. Only by severe introspection could they 
obtain the self-knowledge they required and make their 
failures the foundation of their ultimate success. 

But self-knowledge was not enough. Without a know- 
ledge of the spirit of the age life might prove a blunder ; a 
man might embrace a profession doomed to grow obsolete, 
or embark his capital in a decaying trade. It did not 
follow that the spirit of the age should be adopted ; it might 
be necessary to resist it ; but it was essential to understand 
it. He considered the spirit of the mid-Victorian age in 
which he spoke to be one of equality. So far as the word 
stood for civil equality equality of all subjects before 
the law it was the only foundation of a perfect common- 
wealth, and had been largely responsible for British patriot- 
ism and security. But there was also social equality, which 
had been established by the Revolution in France, but which 
recent events, in 1870 and 1871, showed not to be a prin- 
ciple on which a nation could safely rely in the hour of 
trial. And, further, there was the demand of a new school 
for physical and material equality. t The leading principle 
of this new school is that there is no happiness which is 
not material, and that every living being has a right to 
share in that physical welfare.' The school substituted the 
rights of labour for the rights of property, and recognised 
no such limitation of employment as resulted from the 
division of the world into states or nations. ( As civil equal- 
ity would abolish privilege and social equality would destroy 
classes; so material and physical equality strikes at the 
principle of patriotism, and is prepared to abrogate coun- 

- 'T- 

From a drawing by Mrs. Blackburn at Hughenden. 


tries.' Against this theory he appealed to the traditional 
patriotism of his Scottish audience, and proceeded, in a 
peroration which sums up his teaching on spiritual matters 
in Tancred, Lord George Bentinck, the Sheldonian speech, 
and Lothair: 

It is not true that the only real happiness is physical happi- 
ness ; it is not true that physical happiness is the highest happi- 
ness; it is not true that physical happiness is a principle on 
which you can build up a flourishing and enduring common- 
wealth. A civilised community must rest on a large realised 
capital of thought and sentiment; there must be a reserved fund 
of public morality to draw upon in the exigencies of national 
life. Society has a soul as well as a body. The traditions of 
a nation are part of its existence. Its valour and its discipline, 
its venerable laws, its science and erudition, its poetry, its art, 
its eloquence and its scholarship are as much portions of its life 
as its agriculture, its commerce, and its engineering skill. . . . 

If it be true, as I believe, that an aristocracy distinguished 
merely by wealth must perish from satiety, so I hold it equally 
true that a people who recognise no higher aim than physical 
enjoyment must become selfish and enervated. Under such 
circumstances, the supremacy of race, which is the key of his- 
tory, will assert itself. Some human progeny, distinguished 
by their bodily vigour or their masculine intelligence, or by 
both qualities, will assert their superiority, and conquer a world 
which deserves to be enslaved. It will then be found that our 
boasted progress has only been an advancement in a circle, and 
that our new philosophy has brought us back to that old serfdom 
which it has taken ages to extirpate. 1 

But the still more powerful, indeed the insurmountable, 
obstacle to the establishment of the new opinions will be fur- 
nished by the essential elements of the human mind. Our 
idiosyncrasy is not bounded by the planet which we inhabit. We 
can investigate space, and we can comprehend eternity. No 
considerations limited to this sphere have hitherto furnished the 
excitement which man requires, or the sanctions for his conduct 
which his nature imperatively demands. The spiritual nature 
of man is stronger than codes or constitutions. No Govern- 
ment can endure which does not recognise that for its founda- 
tion, and no legislation last which does not flow from that 
fountain. The principle may develop itself in manifold forms, 

i A profound passage, which the history of the world since 1914 
enables the men of to-day to appreciate. 


in the shape of many creeds and many churches ; but the principle 
is divine. As time is divided into day and night, so religion 
rests upon the Providence of God and the responsibility of man. 
One is manifest, the other mysterious; but both are facts. Nor 
is there, as some would teach you, anything in these convictions 
which tends to contract our intelligence or our sympathies. On 
the contrary, religion invigorates the intellect and expands the 
heart. He who has a due sense of his relations to God is best 
qualified to fulfil his duties to man. 

Disraeli brought to a close an address which had con- 
tained many references to Greek and Latin authors by a 
quotation, in the original Greek, of four lines from the Ajax 
of Sophocles, containing the poet's acknowledgment of 
Divine Providence. Other quotations from Greek plays 
are found in Lord George Bentinck. Disraeli has been 
accused of pretending, in these and other passages, to a 
classical erudition which, he did not possess. But, as was 
shown in Vol. L, ch. 3, he had attained while at school, and 
in the year or more of private study which followed, to a 
wide knowledge of Latin and a moderate acquaintance with 
Greek ; and it is reasonable to assume that a man of letters 
who, like Disraeli, rather ignored contemporary literature, 
would refresh his mind throughout life by recurring to his 
favourite authors of antiquity. He was at any rate suffi- 
ciently familiar with classical literature, Greek as well as 
Latin, to sustain a whole evening's conversation on the sub- 
ject in the summer of 1880 with Northcote, a lifelong 
scholar, upon whom he could not hope to impose with sham 
knowledge, and who records the talk in his diary without a 
suggestion that his chief was discussing matters which he 
did not understand. Sophocles, in particular, he told North- 
cote, he used at one time to carry about in his pocket. 

So satisfied were the Glasgow students with the brilliancy 
of their Rector's address and the lustre of his career that, 
having originally elected him in 1871 by a large majority in 
each of the four ' nations ' into which they were divided, 
they paid him the unusual compliment of re-electing him 
in 1874, in the same handsome fashion, for a second term. 


The Glasgow festivities included, besides the University 
function, a municipal banquet with the Lord Provost in the 
chair, the conferment of the freedom of the city, and the 
presentation of an address by the local Conservative asso- 
ciation. Every mark of respect and consideration was 
shown Disraeli ; and the warmth of the popular reception 
was unmistakable. He told Rose that ' Glasgow, without 
exaggeration, was the greatest reception ever offered to a 
public man : far beyond Lancashire even ! ' At the banquet 
he touched with some grace on the question of the leader- 
ship, now a purely academic one. He had led his party 
in the Commons, he said, for twenty-five years, the longest 
period of leadership on record. Peel had led the Con- 
servative party there for eighteen years, though unfortu- 
nately it twice broke asunder; and Russell's leadership of 
the Liberals had lasted seventeen years, till at last it slipped 
out of his hands. 

Do not suppose for a moment that I am making these obser- 
vations in a vain spirit of boasting. The reason that I have 
been able to lead a party for so long a period, and under some 
circumstances of difficulty and discouragement, is that the party 
that I lead is really the most generous and most indulgent party 
that ever existed. I cannot help smiling sometimes when I hear 
the constant intimations that are given, by those who know 
all the secrets of the political world, of the extreme anxiety of 
the Conservative party to get rid of my services. The fact is, 
the Conservative party can get rid of my services whenever they 
give me an intimation that they wish it. Whenever I have 
desired to leave the leadership of the party they have too kindly 
requested me to remain where I was; and if I make a mistake 
the only difference in their conduct to me is that they are more 
indulgent and more kind. 

A declaration at once modest, generous, and politic, but 
giving perhaps a somewhat idealised version of the rela- 
tionship between leader and party. His political address 
to the local Conservatives was largely occupied with the 
defence of the Bath letter ; but in his peroration he sounded 
a warning note as to the contest that was proceeding in 


Europe between the spiritual and the temporal power. It 
would be the greatest danger to civilisation if in this strug- 
gle the only representatives of the two sides should be the 
Papacy and the Red Republic. England could hardly 
stand apart. ' Our connection with Ireland will be brought 
painfully to our consciousness; and I should not be at all 
surprised if the visor of Home Rule should fall off some 
day, and you beheld a very different countenance.' It 
might be the proud destiny of England to guard civilisation 
' alike from the withering blast of atheism and from the 
simoom of sacerdotal usurpation.' Einally he adjured 
Scotsmen to ' leave off mumbling the dry bones of political 
economy, and munching the remainder biscuit of an effete 

From Montagu Corry. 

WESTON, SHIFNAL, Nov. 28, '73. The Duke of Richmond 
tells me that nothing but regard for your time has prevented 
!his obeying his impulse to write to you his warm appreciation 
of the great speech of Saturday. He asked me to tell you this 
at our next meeting, and also that all his correspondents agree 
in declaring the satisfaction which it has given the party. 

He further told me that none of your words at Glasgow had 
afforded him so much pleasure as your remarks on your leader- 
ship, which he thought well timed and in excellent taste. He 
hopes the mouths may now be shut of those who, ' whenever 
Lord Derby goes about starring at Mechanics' Institutes, etc.,' 
. . . cry out ' Here is the man ! ' With such the Duke does 
not agree, nor seems to deem the Earl better qualified to lead in 
his own Chamber! . . . 

To Lady Bradford. 

KEIR, DUNBLANE, N.B., Nov. 26, 1873. You were right in sup- 
posing that your letter was more precious to me than ' loud 

It has been a great week without exaggeration. 

What pleased me, personally, most was the opportunity, forced 
on me, of shattering all the hypocritical trash about my letter 
to Grey. I call it the Weston manifesto, for it was written 
under the roof that you inspire and adorn. 

I rather long for rest, but have no prospect of it. I live on 
the railroad and am now going to Cochrane's for a day, for I 
could not resist his reproachful countenance any more. , , , 


To Gathorne Hardy. 

BLENHEIM PALACE, WOODSTOCK, Dec. 12, 1873. . . . We have 
a very gay and gorgeous party here, but the frost has stopped 
all the hunting, and the fog has marred the shooting. 

I attended the Princess yesterday on a visit to yr. constituents, 
but the fog was so great, that we could neither see, nor be seen. 

We lunched at the Dean of Xchurch, and I saw in the flesh 
Jowett, M. Miiller, and Ruskin ! x That was something. M. 
Bernard was also there, tho' I wonder he had an appetite for 
any meal, even luncheon, after the quantity of dirt he has 
eaten. 2 

The Whigs here did not like Exeter. . . . 

To Anne Lady Chesterfield. 

HUGHENDEN MANOR, Dec. 15, 1873. . . . What with Glasgow. 
iKeir, Lamington, Gunnersbury, lAshridge; Sandringham and 
Blenheim, I have lived in such a whirl during the last month, 
that I can hardly distinguish the places where I met persons, 
and attribute the wrong sayings to the wrong folk. 

I think the Government has quite relapsed into the miserable 
condition they were in at the end of the session, and from which 
the accession of Mr. Bright, and his sham programme, had, 
for a moment, a little lifted them out. There will be no meas- 
ures about reform, or land, or education, and I continue of the 
opinion I expressed when I was at Bretby, that they will have to 
dissolve in March. . . . 

I was agreeably disappointed with Sandringham. It is not 
commonplace; both wild and stately. I fancied I was paying a 
visit to some of the Dukes and Princes of the Baltic ; a vigorous 
marine air, stunted fir forests, but sufficiently extensive; the 
roads and all the appurtenances on a great scale, and the splen- 
dor of Scandinavian sunsets. 

Disraeli interrupted his merely social visits to attend 
a gathering of the party chiefs just before Christmas, at 
Hardy's house in Kent. ' It is a meeting,' he told Lady 
Chesterfield, l that usually takes place at Hughenden, but I 
am not equal to the affair this year, with a broken household, 

1 In a letter of the same date to Sir Arthur Helps, Disraeli wrote 
of these three eminent men : ' The first does not look like a man who 
could devise or destroy a creed, but benignant; the second all fire and 
the third all fantasy' (Correspondence of Sir Arthur Helps, p. 360). 

2 Professor Mountague Bernard had been one of the British Com- 
missioners at Washington, 


and with no organising spirit ; ' to Lady Bradford he pro- 
tested, ' It is the sort of thing I abhor.' The date originally 
suggested was December 15, but Disraeli wrote to his ' dear- 
est Hardy ' : ( Pardon me all the trouble I am giving you, 
but, as far as I am concerned, it must be the 16th. The pre- 
ceding day is the anniversary of my great sorrow.' Besides 
Disraeli and Hardy, Cairns, Northcote, Manners, Ward 
Hunt, Taylor (the Whip), and Montagu Corry were pres- 
ent. No definite conclusions were come to, Hardy tells us ; 
and indeed the next move must necessarily be with the Gov- 
ernment. But there was, no doubt, much interchange of 
opinion on a subject which had for months formed the topic 
of Conservative correspondence; namely, how to deal, when 
the session opened, with the question whether the Prime 
Minister, since his acceptance of the additional office of 
Chancellor of the Exchequer, was any longer a Member 
of Parliament, seeing that he had not, in compliance with 
the statute of Anne, submitted himself to his constituents 
for re-election. It is a question on which much can be, and 
has been, said on both sides ; but which was deprived of all 
actuality by the unexpected course which Gladstone took 
before Parliament could meet. 

To Lady Bradford. 

HEMSTED PARK, STAPLEHURST, Dec. 19, 1873. . . . [Corry] 
leaves me, I am sorry to say, on Monday for Savernake, so I 
shall pass my Xmas alone. That is, however, not a great grief 
to me beyond losing his society, as I never was a great admirer 
of a merrie Xmas, even when a boy. I always hated factitious 
merriment, in the form of unnecessary guzzlement, and those 
awful inventions, round games, worse even than forfeits, if 
that be possible! . . . 

HUGHENDEN MANOR, Dec. 28, 1873. . . . I passed my Xmas 
at Trentham in the enemy's camp, where I was taken captive; 
but they treated me with great humanity, and spared my life, 
which was valuable to me, as I had a prospect of seeing you. 
They wished me to remain a week, but I gave them only two 
days. I do not stay a week, except with those I love. The 
page of human life is quickly read, and one does not care to 
dwell upon it, unless it touches the heart, 




The opening of the New Year found Disraeli still pursu- 
ing a round of visits in country-houses, Crichel, Heron 
Court, and Bretby ; strengthening the ties which bound him 
to Lady Chesterfield and Lady Bradford; and busying 
himself apparently almost as much about securing a perma- 
nent residence in London as over the favourable political 
outlook. By-elections continued to herald the doom of the 
Government. Stroud and Newcastle-on-Tyne, both with a 
long record of Liberal representation, polled in the early 
days of the year, with the result that a Conservative took 
the place of a Liberal at Stroud by a substantial margin 
while the Liberal majority at Newcastle sank from 4,000 
to 1,000. 

To Anne Lady Chesterfield. 

CRICHEL, WIMBORNE, Jan. 10, 1874. Lady Bradford gave me 
your congratulatory message on the Stroud election ; much the 
most important event of the kind that has yet occurred. I 
observe even the Spectator acknowledges that to deny the 
' reaction ' now is impossible and absurd. 

I enclose you a letter on the subject from Sir Michael Beach, 
a very able and rising man, and who threw himself into the 
Stroud contest as Sir Stafford Northcote did into that of Exeter. 
I agree with Sir Michael that, after Stroud, nothing ought to 
astonish us. ... 

To Lady Bradford. 

BRETBY PARK, BURTON-ON-TRENT, Jan. 20, 1874. . . . I arrived 
here yesterday at tea twilight, and the first words I heard were 
' Selina is ill, and they are going to Bournemouth.' This so 
knocked me up that I could scarcely perform the offices of 
civility to my delightful hostess, and her guests who loomed in 


272 POWER [CHAP, vm 

the chamber, of ambiguous light, in the shapes of Wilton, the 
Dick Curzons, and your friend the great General. 1 I ought 
not to forget Carnarvon, whom I absolutely did not recog- 
nise. . . . 

I have not yet received an answer about Duchess 2 Eleanor's 
house. What do you think of your sister's house in Hill St.? 
She wants to let it. Would that do for me? They seem to think 
that Whitehall Gardens has such a strong recommendation in 
being near the Ho. of Commons. I doubt that. Hill St. would 
secure a walk, which is something. Certainly I might find a 
substitute, if in .Whitehall, by walking to the House of C. via 
Belgrave Square, 3 which would not only secure health, but also 
happiness, which is something also. 

To-day's post informs me that I have succeeded in getting 
rooms at Edwards's Hotel from Friday next, and I shall keep 
them on till my plans for the season are matured. They are 
miserable; merely a couple of rooms on the ground floor, but 
they are a sort of headquarters, until I get a house, or commit 
some other folly. . . . 

Accordingly on Friday, January 23, Disraeli came up 
from Bretby to his London hotel with the view of attending 
on the Saturday a meeting of the trustees of the British 
Museum, and also of deciding finally on his future house. 
It still wanted nearly a fortnight to the date fixed for the 
opening of the session ; and his intention was to return after 
a week-end in town to his home at Hughenden. When, 
however, he woke on the Saturday morning, he was greeted 
by the momentous news that the Queen had been advised to 
dissolve Parliament immediately, and that Gladstone, in ap- 
pealing to the electors to give him a new lease of power, had 
dangled before their eyes a surplus of several millions, and 
promised therewith to abolish the income tax. ' I saw the 
necessity,' Disraeli told Lady Bradford, ' of immediately 
accepting the challenge of Gladstone, which of course he 
counted on my not being able to do. But a political mani- 
festo is the most responsible of all undertakings, and I had 
not a human being to share that responsibility.' It was a 
Saturday in the recess; he had only such conveniences at 

1 J. Macdonald. Where the Bradfords lived. 

2 Of Northumberland. 


his disposal as two l miserable ' hotel rooms provided ; he 
was without secretary, papers, or books ; and his colleagues 
were all scattered. But, in spite of these disabilities, his 
indomitable resolution and industry enabled him to issue 
his reply to Gladstone's appeal on the following Monday 
morning. A letter to Lady Chesterfield tells how it was 

To Anne Lady Chesterfield. 

EDWARDS'S HOTEL, Jan. 27, 1874. I was quite taken by sur- 
prise. Luckily, I was in London: as you perhaps remember, 
I curtailed my visit to dear Bretby, and lost a day of your 
charming society, in order to attend a meeting of the Trustees 
of the Brit. Museum, whom the Government threatened with 
some harassing legislation. 

I was not up when my servant brought me The Times. Be 
sure I did not go to the Brit. Museum, but, after carefully 
studying the manifesto, instantly commenced a draft of answer, 
as I felt everything depended on an immediate reply. Then, 
I telegraphed to my secretary, Montagu Corry, who was at his 
uncle's, Lord Shaftesbury, in Dorsetshire! to Ld. Derby, Lord 
Cairns, Mr. Hardy, and Sir Stafford Northcote. Lord Cairns 
and Mr. Hardy x soon appeared, my secretary at night ; and 
working hard all the next day we got copies prepared for all 
the Monday morning's papers. Our friends are much pleased 
with my reply, and are full of courage. 

It is too soon to speak with confidence either of details, or 
probable result, of the election ; but, generally speaking, we are 
well prepared, for there had been, during the last six months, 
two occasions when dissolution seemed inevitable, so, with the 
exception of five or six men abroad, all our candidates are at 

I have never had three days of such hard work in my life 
as the three last; writing, talking, seeing hundreds of people, 
encouraging the timid and enlightening the perplexed. 

I will let you know, however roughly, how things go on. But 
be of good heart! 

The Derbys arrived on Sunday night, too late to assist me 

i Hardy did not arrive till after the address had been settled by 
Disraeli in conjunction with Cairns. ' I only had the advantage,' 
Disraeli told Lady Bradford, ' of the critical counsel of my Lord Chan- 
cellor, but he is a host.' Hardy suggested a few changes ' rather 
verbal than of substance ' which Disraeli accepted. See Gathorne 
Hardy, Vol. L, p. 334. 

274: POWER [CHAP, vra 

with his counsel with my address. I dined with them yesterday 
alone. . . . 

Think of me, and write to me, whenever you can, for I like, 
in this great struggle, to feel I have friends whom I love. 

Mem. I agree with Carnarvon that Gladstone] 's manifesto is 
very ill-written, but I do not agree with Carnarvon that it is 
not in his usual style. I think his usual style the worst I know 
of any public man; and that it is marvellous how so consum- 
mate an orator should, the moment he takes the pen, be so in- 
volved, and cumbersome, and infelicitous in expression. 

Many considerations had converged to drive Gladstone 
to dissolution, of which the almost unbroken series of de- 
feats in by-elections was perhaps the most operative, though 
the outside world, and especially the Opposition, were dis- 
posed to attribute most importance to the difficulty about his 
seat in Parliament. But the immediate occasion was a 
serious difference of opinion with Cardwell and Goschen, 
the Ministers responsible for the defence of the country. 
To realise his grandiose scheme of total abolition of income 
tax Gladstone wanted, he told Granville, from three-quarters 
of a million to a million off the naval and military estimates 
jointly; and the two Ministers concerned sturdily resisted 
his demands. There was no way out of the deadlock save 
by dissolution ; but in the verbosa ei grandis epistola, occupy- 
ing more than three columns of The Times, which Gladstone 
issued to the electors of Greenwich, the country was never 
told that, in order to realise the promised boon, it would be 
necessary not merely to have an ' adjustment.' which Dis- 
raeli interpreted to mean an increase of taxes, but also to 
cut down the naval and military estimates seriously below 
what the Admiralty and the War Office thought requisite 
for national safety. 

If Gladstone's manifesto was, as Disraeli said, ' a prolix 
narrative,' Disraeli's answering address to the electors of 
Bucks was rather of a negative character. Remission of 
taxation, he observed, would be the course of any party 
or any Ministry in possession of a large surplus ; and as for 
Gladstone's principal measures of relief, the diminution of 


local taxation and the abolition of the income tax, these were 
' measures which the Conservative party have always 
favoured and which the Prime Minister and his friends 
have always opposed.' For the rest, the improvement of 
the condition of the people had been Disraeli's aim through- 
out, in or out of office, but not by l incessant and harassing 
legislation.' It would have been better if, during the last 
five years, ' there had been a little more energy in our for- 
eign policy, and a little less in our domestic legislation.' 
After blaming the Ministry for their diplomatic action in 
regard to the Straits of Malacca an obscure and intricate 
matter, of little serious importance, which loomed largely 
in election speeches and then disappeared and deprecat- 
ing further extension of the suffrage at the moment, Disraeli 
repeated his charge that our national institutions were not 
safe in Liberal hands, and ended on the imperial note. 

Gentlemen, the impending General Election is one of no mean 
importance for the future character of this Kingdom. There is 
reason to hope, from the address of the Prime Minister, putting 
aside some ominous suggestions which it contains as to the 
expediency of a local and subordinate Legislature, that he is 
not, certainly at present, opposed to our national institutions or 
to the maintenance of the integrity of the Empire. But, un- 
fortunately, among his adherents, some assail the Monarchy, 
others impugn the independence of the House of Lords, while 
there are those who would relieve Parliament altogether from 
any share in the government of one portion of the United King- 
dom. Others, again, urge him to pursue his peculiar policy by 
disestablishing the Anglican as he has despoiled the Irish 
Church; while trusted colleagues in his Cabinet openly concur 
with them in their desire altogether to thrust religion from 
the place which it ought to occupy in national education. 

These, Gentlemen, are solemn issues, and the impending Gen- 
eral Election must decide them. Their solution must be arrived 
at when Europe is more deeply stirred than at any period since 
the Reformation, and when the cause of civil liberty and religious 
freedom mainly depends upon the strength and stability of 
England. I ask you to return me to the House of Commons 
to resist every proposal which may impair that strength and to 
support by every means her imperial sway. 

276 POWEK [CHAP, vra 

There is no doubt that Disraeli was well advised in basing 
his main appeal on the desire of the electorate for rest, and 
on their sense of wounded pride at the disrepute of their 
country abroad. Great sections of the community were in 
arms against the Government, moved either by resentment 
at past treatment, or by fears for the future ; not merely the 
landed interest, always Conservative in tendency, but also, 
on the one hand, the clergy and an overwhelming proportion 
of the laity of the Church of England, together with those 
outside her pale who desired religious education in elemen- 
tary schools, and, on the other hand, the brewers and the 
licensed victuallers, whom Ministers had threatened with 
even more stringent regulation than that which they had 
carried through; a fortuitous but powerful combination, 
which Liberals might deride as ' beer and the Bible,' but 
which they realised would be very difficult to defeat. More- 
over, some of the classes upon which the Liberals usually 
relied were far from enthusiastic for the cause; the Dis- 
senters were sore over the Education Bill, and the working 
men were inclined to believe that their social aspirations 
would meet with at least as much sympathy from a demo- 
cratic Tory Government as from a politico-economic Lib- 
eral Administration. In external affairs, the disregard with 
which British representations had been treated in 1870 by 
France and Prussia, Russia's contemptuous repudiation of 
treaty obligations, and the humiliations of the Alabama 
negotiations and award, had sunk deeply into the mind of 
the country, and made men of different opinions unite in 
a resolve to have a Government which should insure re- 
spect for Britain among the nations of the world. The 
bait of abolition of income tax was offered in vain to the 
classes who would mainly benefit by it, as they were the 
very classes who had most reason to be dissatisfied with 
Ministers, and they did not believe that abolition could be 
secured without readjustments of taxation which would 
hit them equally hard. To many even among the Liberals 
the mere offer of such a bait seemed a discreditable election- 


neering manoeuvre; and the supporters of the Government, 
as a body, were irritated by what appeared to them to be a 
capricious and premature dissolution. The Conservatives 
had the advantage both in organisation and in leadership; 
Gorst's machine was in full working order, while the Lib- 
eral caucus had not yet been developed; the popularity of 
the l People's William ' J had temporarily waned, and the 
eyes of the country were fixed on his rival, who had given 
utterance at Manchester, the Crystal Palace, and Glasgow 
to the ideas which were beginning to stir the nation's heart. 
It seemed probable, therefore, that the General Election 
would follow the lines of the by-elections and result in a 
Conservative success. But the best judges on that side 
dared not, in view of the long predominance of the Liberals 
at the polls, place their expectations very high. Gorst's 
estimate just gave them a majority, but so small a ma- 
jority as to have left a Conservative Government at the 
mercy of any malcontent section. 

From John Eldon Oorst. 

CARLTON CLUB, Jan. 30, 1874. Our estimate is as follows : 

Cons. Had. 

England .. ..271 .. 189 

Wales .. ..10 .. 20 

Scotland . . 12 . . 48 

Ireland 35 68 

328 325 

Thompson thinks this is fair and reasonable: Taylor says 
we have underestimated. We have been rather hard upon the 
boroughs, but we have taken a sanguine view of the counties. 

One feature of the elections, which disturbed the calcula- 
tions of wirepullers, was the introduction of the ballot ; but 
Disraeli's prediction in 1872 was absolutely verified that 
* the Government which first appeals to the country on the 
secret suffrage, will, in all probability, be cashiered.' Dis- 

i This was the popular sobriquet for Gladstone in the early seven- 
ties ; afterwards superseded by the ' Grand Old Man,' or ' G.O.M.' 

278 POWEK [CHAP, vin 

raeli's expectations during the contest appear from his let- 
ters to Lady Bradford. 

To Lady Bradford. 

CARLTON CLUB, Jan. 27, 1874. . . . It is impossible to form 
any opinion at present of the result of a General Election. 
There has not yet been time to learn the feeling of the country. 
But I see no signs of enthusiasm on the part of the Liberals, and 
their press is hesitating and dispirited. 

S.o far as the surprise is concerned, we are as prepared as our 
opponents. There is no possible seat without a candidate. . . . 

Wednesday, [Jan. 28] . . . I think things look well. What 
sustains me is the enthusiasm among the great constituencies. 
This was never known before. I shall be disappointed if we 
do not carry both seats for Westminster and two for the City. 
Chelsea even looks promising, and there are absolutely spon- 
taneous fights in Finsbury and Hackney. Nothing like this ever 
occurred before. 

I am making no sacrifice in writing to you. It relieves my 
heart; and is the most agreeable thing to me, next to receiving 
a letter from you. Yours, this morning, gave me the greatest 
pleasure. In the greatest trials of life, it sustains one to feel 
that you are remembered by those whom you love. 

I can truly say that, amid all this whirl, you are never, for 
a moment, absent from my thoughts or feelings. 

Thursday. . . . With two sons candidates, you certainly ought 
to write to their chief every day. . . . 

HUGHENDEN MANOR, Pel}. 1. Yesterday was a complete suc- 
cess; to my content and you know that, as regards my own 
doings, I am very rarely content. I think the Malacca Straits 
will now be pretty well understood by all England and Mr. 
Gladstone too. 

I found on my table on my return at night tels. telling me 
of three seats gained Guildf ord, Andover, Kidderminster ; 
and two, which I thought lost, saved Eye and Lymington. 
That looks well; but I will not indulge in hopes till I have 
more information: much must be known which is not known 
to me, for the telegraph will not work on Sunday. 

Thursday [Feb. 5]. . . . This morning, I hear from the Man- 
aging Committee that they now absolutely contemplate obtain- 
ing a majority. I think it must greatly depend on this day, 
which was always the critical one. If London and West[min- 
ste]r follow Mary [le] bone, the situation will be grave. . . . 


Polling began at the end of the last week in January; 
and before the close of the first week in February the bor- 
ough returns were known and were decisive of the general 
result. The grant of household suffrage in boroughs, which 
Salisbury had condemned as ' Parliamentary suicide ' for 
the Conservatives, had been justified, as Disraeli always 
maintained that it would be justified, even from a party 
point of view. Gorst reported on February 6 : i If all the 
elections were to go as we estimated at the time when we 
made out a majority of 3, we should have a majority of 27.' 
The city of London swung over to the Conservatives, Goschen 
only coming in as the minority member, and Disraeli's 
Liberal friend Rothschild suffering a final defeat; West- 
minster followed the City; and seats were won at Chelsea, 
Greenwich, Marylebone, Southwark, and Tower Hamlets. 
At Greenwich Gladstone was only returned second on the 
poll, below a Conservative ; ' more like a defeat than a 
victory,' he wrote. Striking Conservative victories were 
recorded in the great manufacturing towns, such as Man- 
chester, Leeds, Bradford, Sheffield, Oldham, Newcastle-on- 
Tyne, Nottingham, Stoke-on-Trent, Wakefield, Wigan, 
Warrington, Stalybridge, and Northampton. In the Eng- 
lish boroughs as a whole there was a net Conservative gain 
of over thirty seats. No wonder the Liberals were in de- 
spair at this revelation of the impression produced on 
the working man by five years of Gladstonian government. 

From Montagu Corry. 

CARLTON CLUB, Feb. 6, '74. . . . There is a panic, I am told 
at Brooks's: there was, I should say, for all is now bitterness 
and despair. Wolverton 1 has fled from town in horror, and 
the cry is ' They are in for years.' Gladstone is prostrate and 
astounded, and his colleagues (in two cases at least which have 
come to my knowledge) announce in their offices that the next 
is their last week of power. 

Wolverton's advice has caused the whole catastrophe, which 
has caught a Cabinet in a fool's paradise. 

The Carlton is crowded till midnight : all the dear ' old lot ' 

i The Liberal Whip. 

280 POWER [CHAP, vra 

whom we know so well all the frondeurs and the cynics, pro- 
fessors, now, of a common faith cry for ' The Chief,' as young 
hounds bay for the huntsman the day after the frost has broken 

You will have to come, next week. 

We meet so soon that I say no more except to record what 
I hear on every side, that the Newport Pagnell speech has im- 
measurably influenced the events of the last 48 hours. 

During the elections there was an oratorical duel between 
Greenwich and Bucks ; and little attention was paid to any- 
other speeches save to the thrusts and parries of the rival 
leaders. These orations were not in themselves very re- 
markable; though Disraeli's at least served their purpose 
of heartening his party, and received cordial praise from 
that one of his colleagues on whose judgment he most de- 
pended. 'A splendid effort/ Cairns wrote of the first; of 
another, 'your Newport Pagnell oration must certainly 
stand at the head of all the election speeches of this, and 
perhaps of any, crisis ' ; and the last he described as ' the 
fitting topstone of the series.' One passage may be rescued 
in which Disraeli distinguished between true and false 

All Ministers of all parties are in favour of economy, but a 
great deal depends upon what you mean by economy. I ven- 
ture to say, that I do not believe you can have economical gov- 
ernment in any country in which the chief Minister piques 
himself upon disregarding the interests of this country abroad, 
because such neglect must inevitably lead us into expenditure, 
and an expenditure of the kind over which we have the least 
control. We are in the habit of hearing it said (and nothing 
is more true) that the most econqmical Government we ever 
had was the Duke of Wellington's and why was it ? It was 
because the Duke of Wellington paid the greatest possible atten- 
tion, more than any Minister who ever ruled in this country, 
to the interests and position of England abroad. . . . 

But Mr. Gladstone's view of economy, or rather the view of 
his own party and of the school which he represents, is of an- 
other kind. He says ' The English people do not care for thei 7 * 
affairs abroad. I don't much care for them myself, but I must 
have economy. I must discharge dockyard workmen. I must 


reduce clerks. I must sell the Queen's stores. I must starve 
the Queen's services. I must sell the accumulations of timber 
in the dockyards and arsenals. I must sell all the anchors be- 
longing to the navy. I must sell ' which we were selling for 
the first year or two ' half the ships in the navy.' And this 

is economy 

The county elections emphasised the tendency of the 
borough returns. The home counties followed the lead of 
London ; the Liberals were swept out of Middlesex, Surrey, 
Essex, and Sussex, where the representation had hitherto 
been divided. In the whole of this area, including, besides 
the four counties already mentioned, Kent, Herts, Bucks, 
and Berks, there were only three Liberal candidates re- 
turned for county seats, the minority members for Herts, 
Bucks, and Berks. Disraeli was for the first time at the 
head of the poll, his old colleague Du Pre having retired. 
The figures were: Disraeli (C) 3004, Harvey (C) 2902, 
Lambert (L) 1720 all these elected, and Talley (LC) 
151. Though the verdict of the metropolitan area was per- 
haps the most outstanding feature of the elections, victories 
were reported from counties in all parts of England, de- 
spite the fact that the Conservatives already held the ma- 
jority of the county seats. 

The Conservative majority in England was over 110 ; 
and substantial gains were even made in Liberal Scotland 
(9) and in Liberal Wales (2). In Ireland a new situation 
arose, more disquieting for the Liberals than for the Con- 
servatives, though it involved the nominal loss of a few 
seats to the latter. The first response of Ireland to Glad- 
stone's remedial legislation had been a violent recrudescence 
of crime ; the second, a revival in a more specious form of 
the Repeal agitation, on the plea that the British Parlia- 
ment was incompetent to remedy Irish grievances. This 
movement was started by Isaac Butt, a distinguished Irish 
lawyer, who had won popularity by his exertions in defend- 
ing Fenian prisoners. He christened his new policy ' Home 
Rule ' and invited all Irishmen, independently of party, 

282 POWER [CHAP, vm 

to join him. He had sat himself at Westminster in past 
years as a Conservative, and had been one of the original 
writers in Disraeli's Press; and Disraeli, at first, mistaking 
the movement as merely one for local government, expressed 
a wish to have in Parliament Conservative, as well as Lib- 
eral, Home Rulers. The rapid spread of Butt's organisa- 
tion, and the disintegrating doctrines which it preached, 
speedily enlightened him as to its tendency, and he offered 
it a strong opposition. Butt returned to Parliament at a 
by-election in 1871 as a Home Ruler; and the new party, 
under his guidance, took a material share in the rejection 
of Gladstone's Irish University Bill. When the General 
Election came, they won seats all over Ireland, heavily de- 
feating Chichester Fortescue, who had been Gladstone's 
Chief Secretary and right-hand man in Irish policy; and 
at a meeting in Dublin they formally severed themselves 
from connection with any British party. Ireland, which 
in 1868 had sent to Parliament 67 Liberals and 38 Con- 
servatives, was represented in 1874 by only 12 Liberals and 
34 Conservatives, while there were 57 Home Rulers, con- 
stituting an actual majority of the Irish representation. 
The final figures of the whole election were: Conserva- 
tives, 350; Liberals (including two representatives of La- 
bour), 245; Home Rulers (among whom an appreciable 
minority claimed to be Conservative), 57. While the Con- 
servatives, therefore, had a majority of about fifty over all 
other parties, they could boast, as compared with the Lib- 
erals alone, of a balance of over a hundred: a position of 
extraordinary strength and security. 

As the returns came in, Disraeli's letters naturally be- 
came more jubilant, in spite of his disgust at being forced 
into an unnecessary contest in Bucks. 

To Lady Bradford. 

HUGHENDEN MANOR, Friday [Feb. 6, 1874], Amid 1000 
affairs, I write to you one line. I have written to Lady Ches : 
I am detained here by my contested! I election. No danger, 


but great trouble when I have so much to think of and do, and 
great and vexatious expense, for nothing. 1 

My last accounts are that we have gained 40 seats, equal to 
80 on a division, and have now a majority of 14 over Gladstone. 
That majority will increase. 

Amid all this, I continually think of you and of your grief, 
and should like to wipe the tears from your eyes, for I feel 
they flow. Bear up ! Francis 2 is young, and if we prosper he 
will soon have his way. 

I think of going up to town on Monday, but on Tuesday or 
Wednesday I must be at Buckingham and speak. 3 This is 
horrid ! 

Feb. 8. . . . Myself, I do not think the crisis so near as the 
world does. I think he will meet Parliament, if only not to 
imitate me. . . . 

Our gains up to last night were 46 = 92 ; more than Peel 
gained in 1841, and more than Gladstone gained in ]868. 

I am very well, but sigh for moonlight. I think I could live, 
and love, in that light for ever! 

Thursday [Feb. 12]. . . . I hear from high authority that 
the crisis is at hand, and that G.'s colleagues will not support 
him in his first idea of meeting Parliament. 

The Fairy 4 will be here on the 17th. 

We shall have 50 majority; the strongest Government since 
Pitt. . . . 

If Ministers were about to follow the precedent of 1868 
and resign at once without meeting Parliament, and if a 
strong and representative Conservative Administration was 
to be ready to take their place, no time must be lost on 
the Opposition side in healing the breach caused by the 

1 The expenses were subsequently met by a spontaneous movement 
among Disraeli's constituents, anxious to show their ' pride and grati- 
fication ' at the eminent position which their representative had 

2 The Hon. F. Bridgeman, afterwards General Bridgeman ( 1846- 
1917), was defeated at Stafford. 

s It was in this speech that Disraeli, with office looming in the 
immediate future, congratulated Bucks on having supplied four, or 
(in some reports) five, Prime Ministers out of thirty in all. They 
were George Grenville, Lord Shelburne, Duke of Portland (twice), and 
Lord Grenville. Disraeli was himself a Bucks man by adoption. 

* Disraeli's romantic imagination conceived of his Royal Mistrees as 
the Faerie Queene of Spenser: and to his intimates he wrote of her as 
'the Fairy,' or 'Faery.' See Vol. VI., ch. ' Beaconsfield and the 

284 POWER [CHAP, vra 

Reform policy of 1867. General Peel had retired from 
Parliament and public life in 1868, and so had no longer 
to be reckoned with. With Carnarvon Disraeli had just 
re-established amicable relations through the good offices of 
Lady Chesterfield, Carnarvon's mother-in-law. There re- 
mained Salisbury, at once the most distinguished and power- 
ful, and the most bitter, of the secessionists. He had, in- 
deed, been working in general harmony with his old col- 
leagues in the House of Lords throughout the Gladstone 
Administration ; and had given cordial support to Disraeli's 
lieutenant there, the Duke of Richmond. But his distrust 
of Disraeli himself had apparently not abated. No direct 
communication whatever had passed between them since they 
parted in March, 1867 ; the overture about office in Febru- 
ary, 1868, having been made through Northcote, and re- 
jected in so summary a fashion as to close the door upon 
amicable intercourse. Disraeli, who had been ready 
throughout for reconciliation, had taken advantage of his 
visit in December to Hardy's house in Kent to pay a friendly 
call on Salisbury's sister, Lady Mildred Beresford-Hope, 
whose husband's antagonism to him rivalled Salisbury's; 
and, for a final healing of the breach, he now made use of 
the kindly offices of the lady who was at once Derby's wife 
and Salisbury's stepmother. Salisbury's main objections 
of a public character had been met by Disraeli's refusal to 
take office in a minority in 1873, and by the fact that a 
Conservative Government in 1874 would have a secure 
majority. Nevertheless, before consenting even to meet 
Disraeli, Salisbury, we are told, went through a severe 
mental struggle; but public spirit and a noble ambition 
prevailed. Disraeli was so well aware both of the strength 
of Salisbury's distrust and of his vital importance as a 
colleague in office that until the meeting, which was at first 
accidentally delayed, had been satisfactorily effected and 
agreement reached, he did not disguise his anxiety. 


To Lord Salisbury. 

2, WHITEHALL GARDENS, Feb. 16, 1874. Lady Derby tells me, 
that she thinks it very desirable, and that you do not, altogether, 
disagree with her, that you and myself should have some con- 
versation on the state of public affairs. 

The high opinion which, you well know, I always had of 
your abilities, and the personal regard which, from the first, I 
entertained for you, and which is unchanged, would render 
such a conversation interesting to me, and, I think, not dis- 
advantageous to either of us, or to the public interests. 

I should be very happy to see you here, at your convenience, 
or I would call on you, or I would meet you at a third place, 
if you thought it more desirable. 

From Lord Salisbury. 

BEDGEBURY PARK, CRANBROOK, Feb. 16, 1874. It would cer- 
tainly be satisfactory to me to hear your views upon some of 
the subjects which must at present be occupying your attention 
the more so that I do not anticipate that they would be ma- 
terially in disaccord with my own. I am much obliged to you 
for proposing to give me the opportunity of doing so. In con- 
formity with your suggestion I called on you this afternoon; 
but I was not fortunate enough to find you at home. . . . 

Just in the nick of time Disraeli found a house to suit 
him in Whitehall Gardens, 1 within a short walk both of 
Downing Street and of Westminster Palace ; and so he was 
able to escape the inconveniences of an hotel, and, as he told 
Lady Bradford, ' live again like a gentleman.' To White- 
hall Gardens he came up before the close of the second week 
in February, and in private conferences with his principal 
counsellors, Derby, Cairns, and Hardy, settled the general 
plan of his Ministry, so that he was fully prepared when 
General Ponsonby arrived with the expected message on the 
evening of Tuesday the 17th. Ponsonby found him ' much 
more open, lively, and joyous ' than at the crisis in the 
preceding year; not concealing his delight at the astonish- 
ing majority, which had shown, he claimed, how correct 
was the information on which he wrote the Bath letter. 

i No. 2, Whitehall Gardens has in recent years become, very appro- 
priately, the office, first, of the Committee of Imperial Defence, and, 
afterwards, of Mr. Lloyd George's War Cabinet, 

286 POWEK [CHAP, vra 

From, Queen Victoria. 

WINDSOR CASTLE, Feb. 17, '74. The Queen has just seen Mr. 
Gladstone, who has tendered his resignation and that of his 
colleagues, which she has accepted. She therefore writes to 
Mr. Disraeli to ask him to undertake to form a Government. 

The Queen would wish to see Mr. Disraeli here at J /2 P a st 12 
to-morrow morning. 

To Lady Bradford. 

Y^ to 7 o'cTc., Tuesday, Felt. 17. General Ponsonby, who 
brought me a letter from the Queen, has just left me. I go down 
to Windsor to-morrow morning at 11 o'ck. 

I have seen Lord Salisbury, who joins the Government. 

Disraeli knew that a cordial welcome awaited him at 
Windsor. Lady Ely had written to him on the Monday: 
' My dear mistress will be very happy to see you again, 
and I know how careful and gentle you are about all that 
concerns her. I think you understand her so well, besides 
appreciating her noble fine qualities.' The Queen was in 
sympathy with the country in desiring a less harassing 
time in domestic legislation, and a prouder outlook in for- 
eign affairs ; and she had a pleasant recollection of the care 
for her wishes and her honour which had marked Disraeli's 
short Administration in 1868. 

Memorandum by Queen Victoria. 

Feb. 18. Mr. Disraeli came at J /2 P- 12. He expressed great 
surprise at the result of the elections. He had thought there 
might have been a very small majority for them ; but nothing 
like this had been anticipated, and no party organisation cd. 
have caused this result of a majority of nearly 64. Not since 
the time of Pitt and Fox had there been anything like it. Even 
in '41 when such a large majority had been returned for Sir R. 
Peel, it had not been so extraordinary, because he had had a 
small majority. It justified, he said, the course he had pursued 
last March in declining to take office. . . . Sir J. Pakington 
Providence had disposed of, 1 as he amusingly said. . . . He was 
anxious to bring as much new talent and blood into the Govt. 
as possible. . . . He repeatedly said whatever I wished shd. be 
done whatever his difficulties might be! 

i Pakington was defeated at Droitwich, and raised to the peerage as 
Lord Hampton. 


Disraeli returned from his audience of the Queen with 
his Cabinet fully matured and provisionally approved, and 
he gave an account of his arrangements to the colleague who 
had now for four years led the Conservative party in the 

To the Duke of Richmond, 

Private. WHITEHALL GARDENS, Feb. 18, 1874. I had an audi- 
ence of the Queen to-day at Windsor, from which I have this 
moment returned, when Her Majesty directed me to form an 
Administration and invited my views, how the Cabinet was to 
be constructed. 

I said, that I thought it ought not to be too large, that it 
should not exceed 12 members and that they might be divided 
equally between the two Houses. 

I proposed that your Grace should take the lead and manage- 
ment of the House of Lords, in which you have been successful, 
with the post of Lord President, supported by the Lord Chan- 
cellor, and three Secretaries of State, namely Foreign, Indian, 
and Colonial, filled by Lords Derby, Salisbury, and Carnarvon 
respectively; that these secretaryships, not being departments 
connected with the great branches of expenditure, might fairly 
be placed in the Lords: and, with the Privy Seal, that would 
account for a moiety of the Cabinet. 

In the Commons, [that] the Treasury would be represented by 
myself, and Sir Stafford Northcote as Chancellor of Exchequer, 
and that the two great spending departments of Army and Navy 
I proposed to entrust to Mr. Hardy and Mr. Hunt, as it was 
impossible to sustain debate in the Commons, if these great 
offices were represented by little men. 

It would be necessary to introduce '-a stranger to public, or 
rather official, life for the office of Home Secretary, and I 
mentioned for Her Majesty's consideration the name of Mr. 
Cross, the Member for Lancashire. 

Lord John Manners would, as Postmaster-General, complete 
the other moiety. 

The Queen will consider all this, and I shall hear from her 
probably this evening, but Her Majesty viewed the scheme fa- 
vorably, and I am now going to communicate it to my con- 
templated colleagues. I earnestly hope that you, and they, may 
also favorably receive it, as I count much upon your support. . . . 

This is rather a rough epistle, but I have had rather a rough 
day. Excuse its shortcomings, and believe me, that it is writ- 
ten with a sincere and anxious desire to secure for the Queen 

288 POWER [CHAP, vm 

a valuable servant, and for us all a colleague, whom we greatly 
regard, and highly respect and esteem. 

The formation of the Cabinet proceeded without friction 
among Disraeli's colleagues. Malmesbury, who became 
Privy Seal, expressed a very general feeling in his letter of 
acceptance. ' In the almost unexampled importance of 
your present position you must, at any sacrifice of your 
personal predilections, look, not to the past services, but 
to the future usefulness of your colleagues.' The Cabinet 
accordingly was constituted as follows : 

First Lord of the Treasury B. DISRAELI. 

Lord Chancellor. . . . LORD CAIRNS. 

Lord President DUKE OF RICHMOND. 


Home Secretary RICHARD A. CROSS. 

Foreign Secretary EARL OF DERBY. 

Colonial Secretary EARL OF CARNARVON. 

War Secretary GATHORNE HARDY. 


Chancellor of the Exchequer Sm STAFFORD NORTHCOTE. 

First Lord of the Admiralty. ..... G. WARD HUNT. 

Postmaster-General LORD JOHN MANNERS. 

Wisely restricted to the very manageable number of 
twelve persons, 1 it was as strong and capable a Cabinet as 
has ever taken over the government of this country. In 
its chief it had the most arresting figure in politics since the 
death of Pitt ; in Salisbury a man who was destined to hold 
in the future a place in history little less than his chief, 
and who was even then recognised as of unlimited promise. 
Besides these two there were four statesmen, not unequal 
to the first place if fortune should accord it to them 
Cairns, Derby, Hardy, and Northcote; five more who had 
given proofs, either of character or of cleverness or of ad- 
ministrative ability beyond the common Richmond, 
Malmesbury, Carnarvon, Hunt, and Manners ; and one new 
man Cross, who was to administer the Home Office in 
such fashion as to set a shining example to future Govern- 
i Gladstone's Cabinet had numbered fifteen. 

1874] THE CABINET 289 

ments. Little difficulty was found in allotting the depart- 
ments. Cairns, Malmesbury, Derby, Carnarvon, and Salis- 
bury went naturally back to the offices which they had filled 
in one or other of the Cabinets of 1866-68, and where 
Cairns and Derby at least had served with much distinction. 
For Richmond, as leader of the Lords, the Presidency of the 
Council was a suitable post. Northcote, the only financier 
in the Commons capable of coping with Gladstone, was in 
his right place at the Exchequer, where, but for the Abyssin- 
ian War, he would have been sent in 1868 ; and it was wise 
to allot to Hardy, perhaps the most successful administrator 
as well as the most fervid orator of the party, the delicate 
task of conducting the military forces of the Crown through 
the transition period inaugurated by the Cardwell reforms, 
with a view to their transformation into an army of modern 
type. There was, indeed, no- particular reason why Ward 
Hunt, whose reputation had been gained at the Treasury, 
should have been sent to administer the Admiralty; and 
there may be some who, remembering Hunt's enormous 
size and physical weight, will suspect Disraeli of having had 
a double meaning when he wrote to Richmond that a great 
office like that of First Lord should not be represented by 
a little man. Manners, too, was perhaps a square peg in 
a round hole with a business department like the Post 
Office ; and he told Disraeli he was ' rather apprehensive ' 
of not fulfilling expectations. Cross's appointment was the 
natural outcome of the substantial support given by his na- 
tive Lancashire to the Conservative cause ; his qualifications, 
as lawyer and man of affairs, were vouched for by the Lan- 
cashire magnate, Derby, and had been recognised by Dis- 
raeli on his Manchester excursion. 

A galaxy of ability in a Cabinet does not always promote 
efficiency. Unless Ministers are deeply imbued with loy- 
alty to a cause or a chief, their individual cleverness may 
indeed tend to resolve them into a chaos of jarring atoms. 
But this Cabinet was bound together by strong confidence 
in its chief. There were only two men, Salisbury and 

290 POWEK [CHAP, vm 

Carnarvon, who entered it with any misgiving ; and there is 
evidence that Salisbury, at any rate, having once, though 
with difficulty, brought himself to come in, sought loyally 
from the first for points of agreement rather than of differ- 
ence, and did his utmost to make the combination a success. 
For the rest of the Cabinet, four of them Derby, Manners, 
Malmesbury, and Northcote were bound to Disraeli by 
ties of long-standing personal friendship and political com- 
panionship^ and though the intimacy with Cairns and Hardy 
was more recent, the friendship and mutual confidence were 
almost equally strong. With Richmond as leader in the 
Lords there had been four years of harmonious working; 
and Hunt and Cross owed their promotion to their chiefs 
appreciation of their ability. 

If the Cabinet was capable and united, there were men 
of note in responsible positions outside. The most rising 
of the new men, Sir Michael Hicks Beach, whose exclusion 
from the Cabinet was almost accidental, became Chief Sec- 
retary for Ireland. A first-class man of business, William 
Henry Smith, was appointed Secretary of the Treasury; 
and in Lord George Hamilton Disraeli discovered a young 
man who justified his discernment, and who proved adequate 
to the heavy task of representing India in the House of 
Commons. Lord George had been offered the Under-Sec- 
retaryship for Foreign Affairs, but had been doubtful of his 
French : Disraeli assured him that at the India Office there 
would be no necessity of speaking either Hindustani or 
Persian. Sir John Karslake and Sir Richard Baggallay 
were the law officers ; not perhaps quite so admirable a com- 
bination as that which succeeded them in the later years 
of the Government, Sir John Holker and Sir Hardinge 
Giffard. In Hart Dyke Disraeli had a most efficient Chief 
Whip. The Lord-Lieutenancy of Ireland proved a diffi- 
culty, as often before and since. The Duke of Abercorn, 
who had filled the post with such distinction from 1866 to 
1868, at first refused it ; but after ineffectual attempts had 
been made to obtain the services first of the Duke of Marl- 


borough, and then of the Duke of Northumberland, he was 
pressed to reconsider his decision and ultimately consented. 
The government of Scotland was placed in the capable hands 
of Lord-Advocate Gordon, whose mettle Disraeli had al- 
ready proved. 

No statesman ever succeeded in forming a Ministry 
without giving more or less serious offence in some quar- 
ter. There was a clever friend of Disraeli's, who as a young 
man had been one of his discoveries, but who, owing to a 
certain instability of character, had hardly fulfilled an- 
ticipations. Him Disraeli approached in the most tactful 
and conciliatory manner, making him an offer somewhat 
above his deserts, but decidedly below his hopes. 

To Lord Henry Lennox. 

WHITEHALL GDNS., Feb. 19, '74. The Queen said to me yes- 
terday, that there was one office which she was always anxious 
about, and that was the President of the Board of Works: it 
touched her more personally than most. 

When I told Her Majesty, that I contemplated recommending 
her to appoint you, she appeared relieved, and pleased. 

It is an office with a great deal of work; but agreeable work. 
It gives room for the exercise of your taste and energy. The 
parks, the palaces, and the public buildings of London, under 
your rule, will become an ornament to the nation, and a credit 
to the Government, of which, I trust, you will thus become a 

Lennox, who had set his heart on Cabinet rank very 
unreasonably, considering that his brother, the Duke of 
Richmond, was bound to be of the number was deeply 
hurt. Though he accepted the post and kept up the forms 
of the old affectionate friendship with Disraeli, he * never 
forgave the indignity,' and spoke of his chief to others with 
* venomous acerbity.' Such is the testimony of Lord 
Redesdale, who as Bertram Mitford served as Secretary 
to the Board of Works under Lennox's presidency, and who 
was himself deeply attached to Disraeli. Lennox's ad- 
ministration was not a success, caused Disraeli frequent 
worry, and came to a premature end. 

292 POWEE [CHAP, vm 

' The first thing after the Cabinet is formed is the House- 
hold/ remarked a magnate in Coningsby. To this delicate 
part of his task, so interesting to the great people among 
whom he moved, Disraeli's mind was directed on his very 
first audience of the Queen; as he hoped by a Household 
appointment to gratify the wishes of his dearest friend. 

To Lady Bradford. 

WINDSOR CASTLE, Feb. 18, 1874. It is doubtful whether I 
shall see you to-day, for a tremendous pressure awaits me when 
I get back to town ; which I think may be about J /2 past 4 or 5 ; 
but I hope to try in the evening. 

What you suggested in your note of this morning had already 
occurred to me, some days ago ; but the difficulties are immense, 
as you will see when we meet. Yet they will, I trust, be over- 
come, for I am influenced in this matter by a stronger feeling 
even than ambition. 

To Anne Lady Chesterfield. 

2, WHITEHALL GARDENS, Feb. 21. Yesterday I kissed hands, 
and to-day I take down Carnarvon to Windsor and make him a 
Secy, of State, which, I hope, will please you. 

Bradford is Master of the Horse, and Selina will ride in royal 
carriages, break the line even in the entree, and gallop over all 
Her Majesty's lieges. I see a difference already in her de- 
meanor. . . . 

It was in the course of the formation of the Household 
that Disraeli was first brought face to face with a thorny 
problem, which was to divide his Cabinet in their first 
session, and to range against the Government a section of 
the community who should have been among the firmest 
upholders of Conservatism. The spread of Ritualism was 
a marked feature of the day, and one specially repugnant 
to the Queen ; who refused to admit advanced High Church- 
men into that personal service to herself which the House- 
hold involved unless they undertook not to take a prominent 
part in Church politics. Disraeli turned in this difficulty 
to the leading High Churchman in his Cabinet. 


To Lord Salisbury. 

2, WHITEHALL GARDENS, Feb. 22, 1874. You were very right 
in saying, that the only obvious difficulties we should have in 
our Govt. would, or rather might, be religious ones. 

Last night, the Queen, while accepting the appointment of 
Beauchamp as a favor to myself, requires that there shall be an 
undertaking from him, that he will take no prominent part in 
Ch. politics. 

It is very desirable, Her Majesty adds, that this condition 
should be clearly understood, as she looks upon the views of the 
Ch. party with wh. Ld. B. is connected, as detrimental to the 
interests of the Oh. of England, and dangerous to the Protestant 

The Queen, therefore, could give no countenance to that party 
by admitting a prominent member of it into the Royal House- 

This morning comes another letter. She hears with regret, 
that Lord Bath is as bad, as Lord Beauchamp : consequently, the 
same restrictions must be put upon him as on Lord Beau., etc., 

I shall say nothing to Beauchamp myself, lest he throw up 
!his appointment in an ecclesiastical pet, wh. would be only cut- 
ting his own throat, and whatever may be his faults of manner 
and temper, he is a thorough good fellow, as, I believe, we both 

But I wish you would consider all this, and give me your 
advice. You might perhaps say things as a friend to him, wh. 
might be harder to bear from an official chief. I think with 
tact, and a thorough understanding between you and myself, the 
ship may be steered thro' all these Church and religious sand- 
banks and shallows, but I see that vigilance is requisite. Greater 
trials will arise than the appointment of a Lord Steward or a 
Lord Chamberlain. 

From Lord Salisbury. 

Confidential. 20, ARLINGTON STREET, S. W., Feb. 22, '74. 
I will speak, if you think it desirable, to both Bath and Beau- 
champ on this point. I am sure they will feel it a matter of 
duty not to put themselves forward in Church matters in a sense 
disapproved of by the Queen, so long as they are so closely con- 
nected with her immediate service. The argument if I may 
venture to suggest it which will weigh with her most strongly, 
I believe, against too decided measures, is that this Ritualist 
party, though not preponderant in numbers, is numerous enough, 

294 POWER [CHAP, vra 

if it goes against the Establishment, to turn the scale. It is 
earnest, to fanaticism : it sits loosely to the Establishment, as 
matters stand: and if driven by any act of serious aggression, 
will listen to its most reckless advisers and throw itself on the 
Free Church side. A disruption in England will not perhaps 
take place for so light a matter as that which took place in 
Scotland. But, if it does take place, it will bring the whole 
fabric of the Church down about our ears. 

Of course this applies to graver matters than Household places. 
Mere discountenance will do little harm: but I should look with 
the' gravest alarm to any action on the part of the Legislature. 
The Bishops are at some work which may be dangerous moved 
by Ellicott, 1 who is an unsafe guide. I hope in such matters 
you will take counsel with the Bishops whom you and Lord 
Derby placed upon the Bench. They are all I think sound men. 

Salisbury's advice was in the main judicious, and for the 
moment Disraeli was apparently disposed to accept it, as 
he passed it on to his royal mistress, to whom it was ex- 
tremely unpalatable. 

To Queen Victoria. 

2, WHITEHALL GARDENS, Feb. 23, 1874. Mr. Disraeli with his 
humble duty to your Majesty: 

Your Majesty may rest assured, that your Ministry will do 
everything in their power to discountenance the Ritualist party. 
Much may be done in that way, particularly if done by a Min- 
istry that is believed to be permanent. Any aggressive act of a 
legislative character will only make martyrs and probably play 
the game of the more violent members of the party. . . . 

Feb. 28. . . . Your Majesty's Household is now complete and 
need not fear competition with the Royal Household formed by 
any Ministry, either in your Majesty's happy reign, or in those 
of your royal predecessors. 

Mr. Disraeli thinks it of importance, that the high nobility 
should be encouraged to cluster round the throne. 

1 To change back the oligarchy into a generous aristocracy 
round a real throne ' had been one of the aims of ' Young 
England ' ; and Disraeli no doubt felt he was fulfilling at 
least part of his earlier aspirations when he placed round 
the person of his Sovereign the heads of the houses of Cecil 

i Bishop of Gloucester and Bristol. 


(elder branch), Seymour (younger branch), Bridgeman, 
and Lygon, the heir of the Percies, a Wellesley, and a Som- 
erset; while in the Cabinet and in important positions out- 
side there were the representatives of the Stanleys, Ham- 
iltons, Lennoxes, Herberts, and Cecils (younger branch), 
besides a Manners, a Lowther, a Bentinck, and a Bourke; 
the house of Churchill failing to be represented only be- 
cause its head had declined for family reasons the Lord- 
Lieutenancy of Ireland. 

Hardy describes Disraeli during the process of Ministry- 
making as ' in a whirl, much excited and tired of all his 
disagreeable duty.' But though the business tired him, 
and drove him at its close to Brighton to recruit his strength, 
there can be no doubt that he took a keen and justifiable 
pleasure in his first uncontrolled exercise of the patronage 
of the Crown, and especially in the opportunity it gave him 
of finding suitable positions for those of his friends whom 
he knew to be competent. We get an insight into his feel- 
ings from his letters to Lady Bradford. 

To Lady Bradford. 

2, WHITEHALL GARDENS, S. W., Feb. 27, 1874. What with the 
drawing-room yesterday and a crowd of interviews afterwards 
in Downing St., and endless letters, I could not find time to 
write the only lines which really interested me to her, who 
is rarely absent from my thoughts and never from my heart. 

It has been an awful affair altogether, but it is now done, 
and on Monday next there will be a Council at Windsor, when 
we shall appoint the Lord Lieut [enan]t of Ireland, and swear 
in, and sanction, all the remaining members of the Govt. The 
Queen did not settle about the Chamberlainship till midnight 
on Wednesday. I had retired when the box arrived, but was 
roused at 6 o'ck. a.m. with the news of the capture of Coomassie, 1 
which I sent on to H.M. immediately with three dashes under the 
word ' Important ' on the label. She had been very low the 
night before about the first news. 

The Government is a very strong Government, and gives much 
satisfaction. I have contrived, in the minor and working places, 
to include every ' representative ' man, that is to say every one 

i The Ashantee capital. 

296 POWEE [CHAP, vra 

who might be troublesome. Clare Read and Sir Massey Lopes 
have enchanted the farmers, and I have placed Selwin Ibbetson, 
Jem Lowther, Cavendish Bentinck, and all those sort of men who 
would have made a Tory cave. There are some terrible disap- 
pointments, but I have written soothing letters, which on the 
whole have not been without success. 

I am not very well. I rather broke down yesterday, having 
had some warnings, but I can keep quiet now till Monday. . . . 

Montagu [Corry] is with me here as much as he can, but, be- 
tween dead and living sisters, not as much as I wish. Since you 
left town, I have never dined out. There is plenty to occupy 
me in the evening, for my table is covered with despatch boxes, 
all of which must be attended to. In ordinary affairs, these 
can be managed, even with a Ho. of Commons, but there is noth- 
ing so exhausting as the management of men my present life 
except perhaps the management of women; and I make little 
progress at night. / 

I shall always consider it most unfortunate, I would almost 
say unkind, that you quitted town at this conjuncture the 
greatest of my life. I do not think I could have deserted you; 
but I will only say, Adieu. 

March 1. The Queen is delighted with the Household ap- 
pointments in the Commons; Ld. Percy, Treasurer; Ld. Henry 
Somerset, Comptroller; Barrington, V.-Chamberlain. She says 
I ' rejoice ' they have accepted these posts. . . . 

I am a prisoner to-day, but I hope I shall be all right to- 
morrow and get to Windsor: then my indisposition will not 
transpire. I have had a great many visitors to-day, among them 
the Master of the Horse. 

I have been writing consolation letters all the morning 
among them to Cochrane. 1 

I should not be surprised were the Und. Secy, of War to be 
the Earl of Pembroke! 2 but this is a real secret, known only 
to me, himself, and you. 

Tuesday night [March 3]. . . . I am not as well as I could 
wish to be. The truth is forming a Government is a very severe 
trial, moral and material. I have never, until to-day, had air 
or exercise, tho' I have had to make five journeys to Windsor. 

I was thinking of getting to Brighton for a couple of days 
after the Cabinet to-morrow, but I shall come up if I hear of 
your arrival. 

1 The first Lord Lamington. 

2 Son of Disraeli's old opponent, Sidney Herbert. The appointment 
was made. 


The P. of Wales has written me a most affectionate letter from sfj 
St. Petersburg ; he was so touched by my note telling him that I ' 
the Queen had sent for me! You know all about that. . . . 

The Countess of Cardigan and Lancastre called here the other 
day, and has since written a wondrous letter ! These are some 
of the things that have happened to D. 

BEDFORD HOT [EL], BRIGHTON, March 8. . . . How very un- 
lucky I should have left town but for the first time in this 
great affair I felt dead beat; always, almost, in the same room, 
unceasing correspondence or endless interviews. But to have 
seen you would have been a much better and more beneficial 
change, than even these soft breezes and azure waters. . . . 

H.R.H. paid me a visit on Friday morning, before noon a I 
very long one; and he asked me to dine with him en petite [stc] 1 
comite on Sunday. I was obliged to decline and gave him the 
reason. . . . 

If affairs were not at this moment so pressing the Queen's 
Speech to prepare, and frequent Cabinets, I should come down 
to Bournemouth. I cannot do that, tho' my thoughts will be 
ever there. . . . 

To Anne Lady Chesterfield. 

WHITEHALL . GARDENS, Mar. 16, 1874. I was interrupted while 
writing to you late yesterday, by the unexpected call of the Due 
d'Aumale. . . . Next to Lord Orford, the Due d'Aumale is my 
greatest friend I dedicated Lothair to him. I do not know 
his equal. Such natural ability, such extreme accomplishment, 
and so truly princely a mind and bearing. Between the Comte 
de Chambord and the Comte de Paris, he has been ' sat upon ' 
in life, and has had no opportunity. He looks extremely well 
and says he is, ' tho',' he added with much melancholy, ' I am 
now alone in the world.' . . . 

Corry, of course, resumed his position of principal pri- 
vate secretary to the new Prime Minister with two Treas^ 
ury clerks to assist him: Algernon Tumor, afterwards 
Financial Secretary to the Post Office, and James Daly, 
who succeeded later to the peerage of Dunsandle. There 
was no suitable place on Disraeli's staff for Rose, who was 
intimately associated with his private fortunes; and who 
had long been in the closest touch with his political career, 
until the work of agent to the Conservative party outgrew 
the capacities of a busy firm of solicitors. But Disraeli 

298 POWER [CHAP, vra 

was never ungrateful; and one of his earliest recommenda- 
tions for honours was that of Rose for a baronetcy. 

Philip Rose* to Montagu Carry. 

Feb. 21, 1874. What a pleasure it is to see D. so really great! 
You can understand some of my feelings at witnessing the com- 
plete realisation of my early predictions, attributed at that time 
to boyish enthusiasm, but which only strengthened as time went 
on, and which I have never let go even in the darkest times. 
You will not wonder that at times it cost me a pang at being 
shut out from all share in those triumphs of political life with 
which at one time I was actively associated, and for the main 
object of which I have toiled and striven for 30 years, and with 
which my life has been identified; but in the lottery of life some 
are destined to climb the ladder, and others to remain obscure. 

To Queen Victoria. 

10, DOWNING STREET, April 17, 1874. . . . Mr. Philip Rose is 
the son of a burgher family of Bucks, which has existed in repute 
for more than two centuries. Mr. Rose is now the possessor of 
a fine estate in that county, of which he is a magistrate. He 
is a man of education, but entirely the creator of his own for- 
tune. His life has been one of singular prosperity; mainly 
owing to his combined energy and integrity, and to a brilliant 
quickness of perception. 

Disraeli, from first to last, regarded his life as a brightly 
tinted romance, with himself as hero. Now the third 
volume 1 had been opened. By genius and resolution, in 
spite of a thousand obstacles, the f Jew boy,' the despised 
adventurer, the Oriental mystery-man, had reached the sum- 
mit of place and power. Not only was he once again the 
First Minister of what Englishmen may be forgiven for 
thinking the leading nation in the modern world, but his 
countrymen had unmistakably expressed their desire to be 
governed by him ; he was supported by a large majority in 
both Houses of Parliament, all signs of disaffection in the 
party to his leadership having disappeared. He was sur- 

i The present generation may need to be reminded that, in mid- 
Victorian days, novels and Disraeli's among them were wont to 
appear in three volumes. 

From a portrait b\i Fan Havermant at Hwjhenden. 


rounded by a capable and unusually homogeneous band of 
colleagues. He was regarded with peculiar favour by his 
Sovereign ; and he rapidly came to hold in society, strictly 
so called, a place of distinction such as few Prime Ministers 
have aspired to and fewer attained. 

It was a triumph of romance, but it was also a tragedy. 
The hero had all that he had played for; but fruition had 
been delayed till he was in his seventieth year and had 
lost the partner of his life and of his ambition. Even on 
his first attainment of the Premiership in 1868, he had 
said to W. F. Haydon in reply to congratulations, ' For me 
it is twenty years too late. Give me your age and your 
health.' How much more fervently did he echo that cry of 
{ Too late ' to those who congratulated him six years after- 
wards ! ' Power ! ' he was heard once to mutter in his 
triumphal year of 1878 ; ' it has come to me too late. There 
were days when, on waking, I felt I could move dynasties 
and governments; but that has passed away.' That youth 
was the period for action ; that to be granted adequate scope 
for your genius when young was the supreme gift of Heaven, 
had always been his creed. Now, however much he might 
call in art to assist nature, he was indubitably becoming old ; 
though he might still be fresh in spirit, he was not physically 
comparable to Palmerston when he reached the Premier- 
ship at a similar age in 1855, or to Gladstone when he took 
up the burden a second time at the age of seventy in 1880. 
Tough as Disraeli's fibre had proved through the struggles 
of nearly fifty years, he had never been really robust, and 
indeed in early manhood had undergone a prolonged period 
of grave debility. His intimate notes to his wife from the 
House of Commons form a constant record of indisposition, 
and of requests for pills and other remedies or prophylactics. 
Then in 1867 he had had a serious attack of gout, and he 
had suffered intermittently since, notably from bronchial 
trouble in 1870. The labours of the Premiership in the 
Commons almost immediately brought on renewed attacks; 
first in the spring and then in the autumn of 1874 he was 

300 POWER [CHAP, vin 

pursued by gout, gouty bronchitis, and asthma ; and finally 
in 1876 he was driven to choose between definite retirement 
and a retreat to the House of Lords. Even the relief af- 
forded by the conduct of business in the less laborious House, 
though great, was not sufficient ; and the unwearied service 
which he rendered to his country was accompanied by a 
persistent undercurrent of pain and physical debility, down 
to his last illness in 1881. 

Without the stimulus given not merely by his honourable 
ambition but by the intimate and endearing relations which 
he had established with Lady Bradford and Lady Chester- 
field, he could hardly have borne the principal burden of 
government during years of difficulty and danger. But 
even the intimacy with his new friends could not dull the 
sense of loneliness and desolation caused by the absence of 
the wife to whom, as Hardy noted in his diary, the ' long 
reign ' of 1874-1880 would have been a * true joy.' Had 
Lady Chesterfield accepted him, or had it been possible for 
him to marry Lady Bradford, the vacancy by his hearth, 
which so keenly affected him, would have been filled. But, 
as things were, he experienced only too vividly through all 
his last eight years that melancholy which prompted the 
bitter cry of his friend the Due d'Aumale, ' I am now alone 
in the world.' Sir William Eraser's fussy obtrusiveness and 
misplaced egotism often mar the effect of his Disraelian 
stories; but he was inspired by a true discernment in the 
message which he sent to his chief in the beginning of the 
1874 Administration. 

The only communication which I made to Disraeli at the 
time of his last Premiership was one which I was told he felt 
deeply. I asked a common friend to tell him that I was sure 
that the feeling in his heart which dominated all others was, 
that one who had believed in him from the first, whose whole 
life and soul had been devoted to him, who had longed and 
prayed for his ultimate success, was, now that his success had 
come, no more his wife. 1 

i Fraser, pp. 270, 271. 

1 1 am only truly great in action. If ever I am placed 
in a truly eminent position I shall prove this.' So in a 
moment of exaltation wrote Disraeli in his thirtieth year; 
now, in his seventieth, at long last, he was to show that he 
had not misjudged his own capacity. Social improvement 
at home and the enhancement and consolidation of our 
imperial position abroad were to be the task of the Min- 
istry under his guidance; but in both respects Ministers 
proceeded with caution and deliberation, with the unex- 
pected result that the interest of their first session was pre- 
dominantly ecclesiastical. On the domestic side, in com- 
pliance with the general desire for a respite from incessant 
legislation, they determined to do no more than lay this 
year a foundation for their policy. They appointed a 
Royal Commission to investigate the subject of the relations 
of master and servant; and proposed to deal at once with 
only a few minor matters, including an amendment of the 
Factory Act and certain modifications of the new licensing 
law. On the imperial side, in order to show that the new 
Government hoped to infuse some spirit and dignity into 
foreign policy, Disraeli suggested to Derby the introduction 
into the Queen's Speech of ' a phrase which, without alarm- 
ing, might a little mark out our policy from our unpopular 
predecessors'.' The phrase actually used was : ' I shall 
not fail to exercise the influence arising from these cordial 
relations [with foreign Powers] for the maintenance of 
European peace, and the faithful observance of interna- 
tional obligations.' 



To Queen Victoria. 

10, DOWNING STREET, March 14, 1874. Mr. Disraeli with his 
humble duty to your Majesty: 

He encloses a draft of the Royal Speech for your Majesty's 

Your Majesty will observe, that he has somewhat deviated 
from the routine paragraph respecting foreign affairs. He 
thought the accession to office of a new Ministry was not a 
bad occasion to call the attention of Europe to that respect for 
treaties which your Majesty's present advisers, with your ap- 
probation, are resolved to observe. 

In case news of the treaty being signed do not arrive, the 
paragraph respecting the Ashantee War will require modification. 

Parliament will open on Thursday the 19th. Whether your 
Majesty will be graciously pleased to open it, shall be a matter, 
always, for your Majesty alone to decide. 

Mr. Disraeli has too high, and genuine, an opinion of your 
Majesty's judgment, and too sincere an appreciation of your 
Majesty's vast political experience, to doubt that, whatever your 
Majesty's decision on this important subject, it will be a correct 
one. He will not, therefore, presume to dwell [on], only to 
glance at, the peculiar circumstances of the present occasion: 
a new Parliament; a ballot Parliament; a new Ministry; a 
Ministry recommended to your Majesty by an extraordinary ex- 
pression of Conservative opinion; the great and deep popularity 
of the Royal House at the present moment, and the especial, 
and even affectionate, reverence for your Majesty's person; the 
presence of illustrious strangers, at this moment, at your Majes- 
ty's Court, and the most interesting cause of that presence 1 
all these considerations, Mr. Disraeli feels sure, will be duly 
weighed by your Majesty, and decided upon with dignified dis- 

Disraeli's insinuating pleading did not prevail to secure 
the Queen's presence at the opening of Parliament; and 
accordingly there was nothing dramatic about the first public 
appearance of his Ministry. He had the wisdom and 
magnanimity to suggest the re-election of the Liberal 
Speaker chosen towards the close of the last Parliament, 
Henry Brand. The depression of the beaten Liberals was 
augmented by Gladstone's announcement that he only pro- 

1 The recent marriage of the Duke of Edinburgh to a daughter of 
the Emperor of Russia. 


posed to attend occasionally during the present session, and 
reserved to himself the right to resign absolutely the leader- 
ship of the Opposition in the following spring. It was, 
Disraeli said on one of the occasions when he met his rival 
on the neutral ground of Marlborough House, ' the wrath, 
the unappeasable wrath, of Achilles.' 

To Anne Lady Chesterfield. 

WHITEHALL, March 17, 1874. . . . Yesterday we had a grand 
banquet at Marlboro' House, which was agreeable enough. I 
had not very lively neighbours at dinner. . . . However, I do 
not dislike what Macaulay called some ' flashes of silence,' and 
unless I sit next to you, or somebody as interesting and charm- 
ing, I find a pleasant repose in a silent banquet, particularly 
with a good band. 

After dinner we had conversation enough, and I could amuse 
you for hours, if we were walking together alone at Bretby, but 
alas! the pressure of business, wh. is now getting intense, can 
only spare time for a snatch. 

The Dss. of Edinburgh was lively as a bird. She does not 
like our habit in England of all standing after dinner, and I 
must say I find it exhausting. In Russia the Court all sit. 

She asked me who a certain person was, talking to a lady. 
I replied, ' That is my rival.' ' What a strange state society is 
in here,' she said. ' Wherever I go, there is a double. Two 
Prime Ministers, two Secretaries of State, two Lord Chamber- 
lains, and two Lord Chancellors.' . . . 

To Lady Bradford. 

WHITEHALL, March 19, 1874. . . . I had a very hard day 
yesterday. A great personage, 1 a favourite of yours and of 
mine, was with me all the morning at this house with difficult 
and delicate affairs; then without luncheon, I had to run to 
D[owning] S[treet] to keep my appointments with the mover 
and seconder of the Address, each of whom I had to see sepa- 
rately; then a long Cabinet, and then the banquets! Mine was 
most successful, and I believe also Derby's. Everybody said tbey 
never saw a more brilliant table. I gave Gunter carte blanche, 
and he deserved it. He had a new service of plate. Baroness 
Rothschild sent me six large baskets of English strawberries, 200 
head of gigantic Parisian asperge, and the largest Strasburg foie 

i The Prince of Wales. 


gras that ever was seen. All agreed that the change of nation- 
ality had not deprived Alsace of its skill. . . . 

To-day I am to take my seat at four o'ck., introduced by . 
Cis l and Mr. Henley. . . . 

* Things went off very quietly in the House/ was Dis- 
raeli's description of the opening day to Lady Bradford. 
' Gladstone made a queer dispiriting speech, and, in short, 
told his party that the country had decided against them, 
and that they were thoroughly beaten.' The one urgent 
topic was the famine in India; and the vigorous measures 
which, in spite of Anglo-Indian opposition, the Liberal 
Viceroy, Northbrook, was taking to cope with it received 
warm support from Salisbury and the new Government. 
The occasion gave Lord George Hamilton an opportunity to 
show that Disraeli had not been mistaken in singling him 
out for responsible office. ' This is a triumph for me,' he 
wrote to Lady Bradford. 2 

To Queen Victoria. 

HOUSE OF COMMONS, March 20, 1874. Mr. Disraeli with his 
humble duty to your Majesty: . . . 

Mr. Disraeli was very inadvertent in not reporting the pro- 
ceedings of the House of Commons last night to your Majesty. 
He will to-night ab initio, so that your Majesty's record of the 
new Parliament shall be complete. 

He is now writing hurriedly in his place, in the midst of busi- 
ness and not wishing to keep the Windsor messenger. 

10, DOWNING STREET, March 20, 1874. . . . An interesting 
evening in the House of Commons. The Home Rule debate 
was actively, but not forcibly, sustained by the Irish members. 
Mr. Gladstone spoke early in the debate, and well. Sir Michael 
Beach with great force and success. 

The night was favourable to the young Ministers. Lord 
George Hamilton greatly distinguished himself in his Indian 
statement. Both sides of the House were delighted with him: 

1 General Forester, Lady Bradford's brother, who shortly afterwards 
succeeded as 3rd Lord Forester, was in March, 1874, Father of the 
House of Commons. 

2 Lord George, in his interesting Parliamentary Reminiscences, has 
given in full the flattering description of his speech in the letter to 
Lady Bradford. 


with his thorough knowledge of his subject; his fine voice; his 
calmness, dignity, and grace. He spoke for exactly an hour. 
Mr. Disraeli has rarely witnessed so great a success and, what 
is better, a promise of greater. 

There were only ten days of the Parliamentary session 
before the Easter recess ; and the new Minister had a vast 
amount of work and of society to pack into his early days 
of power. 

To Anne Lady Chesterfield. 

WHITEHALL, March 24, 1874. . . . Yesterday was a galloping 
day. . . 

I had to see Sir Garnet Wolseley 1 at one, and find out what 
he expected, or wished, as a reward : not a very easy or pleasing 
task. It often happens, in such cases, that Governments put 
themselves much out of the way to devise fitting recognition of 
merit, and then find they have decided on exactly the very thing 
that was not wanted. 

Then I had a great deputation in D.S. at Vfe past 2 o'ck. ; then 
the Ho. of Comm. at */ past four, and then, keeping my 
brougham ready, I managed to steal away to Belgrave Sqre. at */2 
past 6, and see somebody I love as much as I do yourself. 
Then I had to get home to dress for one of the great wedding 
banqiiets ; at Gloster House : all the royalties there Marl- 
boro' House, Clarence House, and Kensington Palace; and a 
host of Abercorns, Ailesburys, Baths, Barringtons, etc., etc., 
not forgetting the hero of the hour, Sir Garnet again. 

He is a little man, but with a good presence, and a bright 
blue eye, holds his head well, and has a lithe figure: he is only 
40 ; so has a great career before him. . . . 

I am very well, altho' the work is increasing and it seems a 
dream. I told somebody that I was well because I was happy, 
and she said ' Of course you are, because you have got all you 

But I assure you, as I assured her, it is not that. I am 
happy in yr. friendship and your sister's. They are the charm 
and consolation of a life that would otherwise be lonely. You 
are always something to think about; something that soothes 
and enlivens amid vexation and care. . . . 

5 o'ck. March 29. . . . We have had a busy week, social and 
otherwise: a drawing-room and a levee. Selina presented her 

i Who had commanded the Ashantee expedition and taken Coomas- 
sie; afterwards F. M. Viscount Wolseley. 


daughter, Lady Mabel, 1 as you know. Selina was in mourning, 
but it particularly becomes her, and, in my opinion, she was 
much the most distinguished person at the Palace. I dined in 
Belgrave Sqre. aft[erwar]ds and met the Baths, and one or 
two agreeable people: a little round table; not more than the 
Muses and not less than the Graces. . . . 

10, DOWNING St., March 31. I have just adjourned the Ho. 
of Commons for a fortnight. I begin to feel the reality of 
power. . . . 

To Lady Bradford. 

10, DOWNING STREET, March 31. . . . I spoke last night 2 
quite to my own satisfaction, which I rarely do, but did not 
produce any great effect on the House, which expected some- 
thing of a more inflammatory kind in all probability. I gave 
them something Attic. Your friend The Times again assailed 
me, wh. I disregard and shd. not notice if you did not. . . . 

Disraeli spent the Easter recess at Bretby. Two sen- 
tences, one from a letter to Corry, and the other from a letter 
to Lady Bradford, give us pictures of his afternoon drives 
and his evening relaxations. ' We came home in an open 
carriage a break in pelting rain ; but my fascinating 
hostess covered me with her umbrella, so that I was as com- 
fortable as in a tent, and wished the storm to last.' ' We 
play whist every evening, and I have never once revoked ; 
more than that, Lady Ches. says I play a " really good 

The immediate business before the Government was the 
Budget a particularly crucial issue, as it was on the 
financial cry of abolishing the income tax that Gladstone 
had gone to the country. From Bretby, in answer to an 
appeal from Northcote, who had kept him fully informed 
of the development of his schemes, he wrote a decisive letter. 

To Sir Stafford Northcote. 

BRETBY PARK, April 4, 1874. If we don't take care, we shall 
make a muddle of the Budget. It is indispensable that we 
should take Id. off the income tax. . . . 

1 Now Lady Mabel Kenyon-Slaney. 

2 In moving the vote of thanks to the General and the troops for 
the Ashantee expedition. 

1874] THE BUDGET 307 

I was always in favour of introducing a rating bill, provided 
we could deal largely with local taxation. If you pass a rating 
bill, relieve the ratepayers from police and lunatics, and abolish 
the Government exemptions, I consider the local taxation ques- 
tion virtually settled. The rating bill would run pretty easily 
with such adjuncts. You will have, by this mode, satisfied a 
large party in the House, and largely consisting of our friends. 

The repeal of the sugar duties will satisfy the free traders and 
the democracy. 

The reduction of one penny in the income tax will be a 
golden bridge for all anti-income tax men in our own ranks. 
They will grumble, but they will support us. 

With these three great objects accomplished, I think you may 
count on success. 

If you can do no more, do it, but that would not be necessary. 
The repeal of the horse duty was necessary, when you contem- 
plated dealing so partially, and, comparatively speaking, slightly, 
with the local burthens. Now it will range itself if necessary 
with the taxes on locomotion, the consideration of which may 
keep. It seems to me, however, that you might repeal the horse 
duty in addition ; and I am clear that you had better not recede 
in any considerable degree from the original estimates. . . . 

I hope I have made my views pretty clear. I send this by 
messenger, as I don't like the post as a means of conveyance, 
when the repeal of taxes is concerned. 

It pleased the Opposition to describe a Budget drawn 
on these large lines as frittering away the Liberal surplus 
of over five millions ; but subsequent history has shown how 
utterly impracticable was Gladstone's showy policy of com- 
plete abolition of the income tax. Had he prevailed for the 
moment, the increasing demands of armaments on the one 
hand, and of social legislation on the other, must have led 
to its reimposition within a very few years; and it is 
creditable to Disraeli, that, though he dallied long with the 
hope of abolition, yet when he attained power in 1874 he 
declined, with the prospect of progressive expenditure, to 
abandon so powerful an engine of revenue. He was able, 
in this halcyon period of abounding trade and political 
quietude, to reduce the rate to twopence, to abolish the sugar 
duties and the horse tax, and to relieve local rates of the 


burden of police and lunatics; boons which, save in com- 
parison with total relief from income tax, would have been 
regarded as eminently praiseworthy, and which were ac- 
cepted by Parliament as satisfactory. 

Within a few days of his return from Bretby Disraeli 
was seized by the first of a series of attacks of gout which 
crippled him, at intervals, for the remainder of the year. 

To Anne Lady Chesterfield. 

WHITEHALL GARDENS, April 16, 1874. . . . After five years' 
truce, the gout attacked my left hand on Monday last. I have 
borne up against it as well as I could, for I don't think the world 
likes sick Ministers, but I am afraid it has beaten me. After 
a long Cabinet yesterday, I was obliged to send my excuses to 
the Speaker, to decline dining with him; and tho' I must man- 
age to appear in the H. of C. to-day for the Budget, I fear my 
arm must be in a sling. . . . 

WHITEHALL, April 18. . . . I have seen my hand to-day for 
the first time for a week, and tho' not exactly fit for a Lord 
Chamberlain, it would do for a morganatic marriage, wh. is al- 
ways rather an ugly affair. . . . 

To Lady Bradford. 

W[HITEHALL GARDENS], April 18, 1874. . . . The Budget is 
very successful. 1 . . . 

If I can I must go to the Salisbury banquet to-day, but I 
will not decide till six o'ck. ... I was in the House last night 
till midnight, and only left because I was assured there cd. be 
no more divisions. There was one, however, and Mr. Secy. Cross 
talked, I see, of the Prime Minister's absence on account of the 
state of his health ! ! ! What language ! . . . 

April 19. . . . It won't do for me to go down to Brighton, 
and give up the dinners I have accepted, or they wd. make out 
I was very ill and all that. I have refused every invitation that 
has arrived since I returned to town. I mean to fashion and 
frame my life into two divisions : the public life, wh. speaks for 
itself; and the inner, or social life, wh., so far as I can arrange, 
shall be confined to the society of those I love and those who 
love them. 

Life, at least so much of it as may remain to me, is far too 

i In reporting to the Queen Disraeli wrote that ' the Budget was 
extremely well received by the House. The speech was artistically 
conceived and the interest skilfully sustained till the end.' 


valuable to ' waste its fragrance on the desert air.' I live for 
Power and the Affections ; and one may enjoy both without being 
bored and wearied with all the dull demands of conventional in- 
tercourse. ... 

Yesterday was one of those cumbrous banquets wh. I abhor, 
and wh. in my present condition was oppressive French Am- 
bassadors, and Dukes and Duchesses of Marlboro' and Cleve- 
land, and all that. It did me no harm, however, for I was re- 
solved and firm, asked for seltzer water, did not pretend to drink 
wine, or to eat. I had the honor to sit by the great lady of 
the mansion, so long, and so recently, my bitter foe. She 
feasted me with, sometimes skilful, adulation. If I were not 
really indifferent to it, wh. I think I am, I certainly appeared 
to be so yesterday, for with the depression of my complaint, and 
the want of all artificial stimulus, I felt I was singularly dull 
and flat. I could scarcely keep up the battledore; the shuttle- 
cock indeed frequently fell. 

I am told by another great lady, that all this homage is sin- 
cere. It is the expression of ' gratitude ' ; not so much for the 
offices I have showered on them, 1 as for the delicate manner in 
which I spare them the sense of ' humiliation.' 

April 25. . . . Last night 2 was most amusing. Gladstone 
stagey, overdone, and full of false feeling and false taste; trying 
to assume the position of Scipio Africanus, accused by a country 
which he had saved. 

But, between Smollett and Whalley, it was a provincial Ham- 
let bet[wee]n clown and pantaloon. 

To Arme Lady Chesterfield. 

W. G., May 6. Yesterday was the first party division of the 
session, and the Ministry won triumphantly. 3 The battle came 
off on a different issue from that which I had apprehended when 
I dined out, wh. was almost as rash as the Duke of Wellington's 

1 Besides Lord Salisbury, his brother, Lord Eustace Cecil, held 
office in Disraeli's Administration; as well, of course, as Lord Exeter, 
the head of the elder branch of the Cecils. 

2 Smollett (C.) moved and Whalley (L.) seconded an abortive vote 
of censure on Gladstone for advising the recent dissolution. On the 
debate on the Address, Disraeli had generously said : ' If I had been 
a follower of a parliamentary chief as eminent, even if I thought he 
had erred, I should have been disposed rather to exhibit sympathy 
than to offer criticism. I should remember the great victories which 
he had fought and won; I should remember his illustrious career; its 
continuous success and splendour, not its accidental or even disastrous 

s The question at issue was the educational standard to be reached 
by the children of out-door paupers. 


ball at Brussels. But I had made all my preparations, tho' I 
had contemplated a different point of attack. 

The majority of 63 may be looked upon as our working ma- 
jority to be raised to 80 on very critical occasions. Our 
friends are in high spirits and have quite forgotten the misad- 
venture of the other night. 1 Forster, Lowe, Goschen, and Co. 
looked dreadfully crestfallen. . . . All the Home Rulers voted 
against us. 

The humdrum course of hardly contentious Government 
business was little to the taste of eager spirits on the Op- 
position benches. Mr. (now Sir George) Trevelyan, ac- 
cordingly, pushed into the foreground the question of the 
county franchise. But a newly elected Conservative Par- 
liament could hardly be expected to welcome an immediate 
prospect of further constitutional change, and Mr. Tre- 
velyan's motion was decisively rejected. 

To Anne Lady Chesterfield. 

W. GARDENS, May 14, 1874. We had a capital division on a 
capital subject the extension of the household franchise to 
counties. There were rumors that the Liberal party was to be 
reorganised on this 'platform,' and amazing whips were made 
by both sides. The result surprised both. Lord Hartington 
. . . and other Whigs left the House without voting; and Mr. 
Lowe actually voted with us! There were five hundred, and 
more, in the House during the debate, and we had a purely Con- 
servative majority, with the exception of Mr. Lowe, of 114! . . . 

Disraeli's opposition to the motion was of an opportunist 
character. 2 While pointing out that the distribution of 
political power in the community was an affair of conven- 
tion, and not of moral or abstract right, he expressly dis- 
claimed any objection in principle to the enfranchisement 
of the county householder. 

I have no doubt that the rated householder in the county is 
just as competent to exercise the franchise with advantage to 

i When the Government was beaten during the dinner hour on an 
Irish question by two votes. 

2 ' The measure will not be passed for ten years ; and when ten 
years are over it will be harmless.' Letter from Corry for Beacons- 
field to C. S. Read. Dec. 27, 1877. 


the country as the rated householder in the town. I have not 
the slightest doubt whatever that he possesses all those virtues 
which generally characterise the British people. And I have 
as little doubt that, if he possessed the franchise, he would 
exercise it with the same prudence and the same benefit to the 
community as the rated householder in the town. 

But, as the enfranchisement would enormously increase 
the county electors, causing them considerably to outnumber 
the borough electors, it would be necessary to have a great 
redistribution of seats at the same time, with the result of 
the erasure from the Parliamentary map of the important 
class of boroughs of 20,000 or 25,000 inhabitants. He 
was not prepared to strike a fatal blow at the borough con- 
stitution of the United Kingdom. It was an unwise thing 
for an old country to be always speculating on organic 
change. In that matter their course of late years had 
been very rapid and decisive. He was confident in the 
good sense of the people. But they had had a great 
meal to digest, and he was not sure that it had as yet 
been entirely assimilated. The mind of the agricultural 
class was occupied not with political change, but rather with 
the elevation of their social condition. ' When the disposi- 
tion of the country is favourable, beyond any preceding 
time that I can recall, to a successful consideration of the 
social wants of the great body of the people, I think it would 
be most unwise to encourage this fever for organic change.' l 
Here was sounded clearly the note of social reform, which 
honourably distinguished all the domestic legislation of the 

To Anne Lady Chesterfield. 

2, WHITEHALL GARDENS, May 19, 1874. . . . Last night was 
critical. Gladstone reappeared with all his marshals, Lowe and 
Childers and Goschen, and others of the gang. They were to 
make an attack on our Supplementary Estimates for the navy. 

i This was Disraeli's last statement of policy on Parliamentary 
Reform. He had, it may be added, when still in opposition, announced 
his adhesion in principle to the extension of the suffrage to women. 


But a traitor had apprised me of their purpose, and my benches 
were full to overflowing. They dared not attack the master of 
100 legions, and they took refuge in a feeble reconnaissance by 
Childers, who was snuffed out by the Chanr. of the Excr. 

The elections continue to go well for the Ministry, wh. shows 
that the Conservative reaction was not a momentary feeling. . . . 

To Queen Victoria. 

2, WHITEHALL GARDENS, May 22, 1874. . . . To-night, there 
was an amusing debate respecting making Oxford a military 
centre. Mr. Hall, the new Conservative member for Oxford 
City, made a maiden speech of considerable power and promise : 
a fine voice, a natural manner, and much improvisation. While 
he was sitting down, amid many cheers, Lord Randolph Churchill 
rose, and, though sitting on the same side of the House, upheld 
the cause of the University against the City, and answered Mr. 

Lord Randolph said many imprudent things, which is not very 
important in the maiden speech of a young member and a young 
man; 'but the House was surprised, and then captivated, by his 
energy, and natural flow, and his impressive manner. With self- 
control and study, he might mount. It was a speech of great 
promise. . . . 

The Whitsuntide recess was a period of great refresh- 
ment to Disraeli, as he had the Bradfords to stay with him 
at Hughenden, the party to meet them comprising Maria 
Lady Ailesbury, the Wharncliffes, and Pembroke. It was 
1 the fulness of spring,' he wrote to Lady Chesterfield, while 
awaiting their arrival : ' thorns and chestnuts and lilacs 
and acacia, all in bloom, and the air still and balmy. . . . 
I am as restless as if I were as young as the spring.' Un- 
fortunately he came back to town with a suspicion of trouble 
in his throat ; and the remedies given him to restore his 
voice brought out the gout once more. ' I left the H. of C. 
on Monday night at 10 o'ck.' he wrote to Lady Bradford on 
June 10, ' all the difficulties about the Licensing Bill being 
triumphantly over, with the view of going to Montagu 
House; but when I began to dress I found I hobbled, and 
a P. Minister hobbling wd. never do, so I gave it wisely up.' 
1 The enemy has entirely overpowered me,' he wrote in an- 

a 2 


I F 


* 03 

G t 




-.'-'-, ATTACK OF GOTT : 

other note. ' After * night of iDMMMmg an&erug I haw 
bent obliged to send to Handy to fake the ran*, a* it is 
phvricafly hnpoMibk for me to n*di tbe ttx of C/ 


</dL, I WIN invaded by tbe Cr, of the Ear, John MaMMra, Bar- 

rington with palf facca and detracted *ir, 

the Mnnrtrr oW FacfeMj KB, 
qgfadcd frMi ito jiiHaiMM la nWtr alnw, 

* _<^ _ _ < A. * JJ 

I Mid that Midb * rapreMBtotioD, if it mete * jmt <MMV 
to here ken made to me longr *** when j fcej, W State 
WM ncra* the 2nd iCMKn* f tint BilL 2*fly that the 
MBtetion m wniMt md dwmL H 1 I nail Hi in 

of Beifaat from d nutrictionc on UKW placed on dw 

of YoHnhne would be in fact CTtammhiaa; i 
of Protection in faror of Ireland, 
My friend* were much alarmed, but I WM dear M to our 

Ton ee the iwnJfc We had Bnjority 

/ae 1ft., , . It 

^, but it waa aueecMuuL tne H 

oiey iaaMiM what I TOM, ad I taiiihi w lie temhle Ifo 
Playfair in no time, tho* a few day* ago it WM Mid that, on the 
question of * Minister of Education, die Oppoaition would cer- 
tainly beat n&. 

I got away hy eight o*ek, not materially injured by the exer- 
tion: hut I am now to he quiet tor 8 and 40 hours, and then 
I ahall be more than quite writ 

l4Mt Sunday Bradford came on a social YMU* and WIM ao 
dioefced at fr4mg; me knocked up, that he diff*1kd gffr^ t 
pay me a rwh, wh, vW did yeaterday before her depaituie. , . . 

Handicapped in this waj br flbma, Dicraeli had to face, 
in the last portion of die seanon, die moat critical ata^e of 
a ddieate and diftVnlt qneation. 'There is not a mdc 
ahead or a dood/ he told ladr Chcaterfidd; hot, as he 
remembered when writing to Ladj Bradford, there 


one exception, ' the Church Bill, which is not our child, and 
of which the fortunes are very obscure.' It was an un- 
merited misfortune for Disraeli that his accession to power 
should have coincided with the transference of the Ritual- 
istic controversy from the stage of public discussion to that 
of legislative action. He had been a party to the appoint- 
ment of a Royal Commission in 1867 to investigate the 
problem, and might reasonably have hoped that it would 
have been taken in hand by Parliament before 1874. The 
Commission had been issued after a condemnation of Ritual- 
istic excesses by Convocation; it contained a full repre- 
sentation of the High Church party, Bishop Wilberforce, 
Beauchamp, Beresford-Hope, J. G. Hubbard, Canon Greg- 
ory, and Sir Robert Phillimore; and in August of 1867 it 
issued its first and practically unanimous report, affirming 
the expediency of restraining variations of vestments, and 
pronouncing that this should be done by providing aggrieved 
parishioners with easy and effectual process for complaint 
and redress. Gladstone, a devoted son of the Church of 
England, had held office, with a large majority at his back, 
for five subsequent years; and yet, beyond expressing 
strongly in the House of Commons in 1872 his belief that 
there was an urgent case for legislation, he had taken no 
step whatever to deal with the extravagance which he de- 
plored. Shaftesbury, as Evangelical as he was philan- 
thropic, had endeavoured year after year to obtain support 
in the Lords for a drastic Bill of his own ; but a man of his 
extreme views could hardly expect support from the bench 
of Bishops. Meanwhile the situation had become worse, 
owing to the rapid extension of the Ritualistic party on the 
one hand, and, on the other, to a striking discrepancy among 
the oracles of the law. In the Purchas case the use of 
Eucharistic vestments, of the eastward position by the 
celebrant, of wafer-bread, and of the mixed Chalice the 
four points to which most importance was attached by both 
the contending parties had first been affirmed to be law- 


ful by the Dean of Arches and then, on appeal to the Privy 
Council, had been condemned as unlawful. By these judg- 
ments each party in turn was exalted and depressed ; and the 
reversal of the first by the second rallied to the Ritualistic 
side no small following among the moderate High Church- 
men. In these circumstances the Bishops, under the guid- 
ance of Archbishop Tait, came to the conclusion that legis- 
lation must be promoted to prevent the further spread of 
anarchy and the possible disruption of the Church. But 
they concerned themselves solely with the machinery for 
enforcing the law, ignoring the patent fact, which the Pur- 
chas judgments advertised, that that law was capable of very 
different interpretations. 

When, in January, 1874, the episcopal decision was taken, 
Gladstone was in power; before the session opened, there 
was a new Government, and one in which both High and 
Low Church had eminent representatives Salisbury, 
Hardy, and Carnarvon on one side, and Cairns on the other. 
Disraeli himself, much impressed, as Lothair showed, by 
the recent successes of Roman propaganda in England, and 
believing also, as he wrote in the General Preface to the 
Novels, that the ' medieval superstitions,' which Ritualism 
revived, were l generally only the embodiment of pagan 
ceremonies and creeds,' was averse from the new develop- 
ment; in private letters he disrespectfuly referred to 
Ritualistic practices as 'high jinks.' But, with a vivid 
recollection of the Ecclesiastical Titles fiasco in 1850-51, he 
was much too shrewd to wish to embark on ecclesiastical 
legislation; and in his correspondence over Beauchamp's 
appointment to the Household had been quite ready to ac- 
cept Salisbury's standpoint. 

But hardly was he installed in office before pressure was 
applied to him. Within the first week he received, along 
with the Archbishop's congratulations, a notification that the 
Bishops were contemplating a Bill and looked to the Gov- 
ernment for advice and support. 


From Archbishop Tait. 

Private and Confidential. ADDINGTON PARK, Feb. 23, '74. 
First let me express my congratulations, if indeed it be a sub- 
ject of congratulation to bave won the most influential post in 
Europe by a most honorable manifestation of the regard of a 
great people, even though that post brings the heaviest burden 
that any one man can be called to bear. May God sustain you 
and help you to use all your influence for the best interests of 
the country! 

Secondly will you allow me in my own department to proceed 
to add to your burden? May I ask you to read the enclosed 
memorandum ? It has been drawn up after full consultation with 
the Queen. Her Majesty is much interested in it, thinking, 
I believe rightly, that, unless something of the kind indicated 
is done> the Church of England will go on the breakers. The 
Bishops also have almost unanimously approved. 

If, after talking over the matter with the Queen, you see 
your way to help us with the force of Government in some 
necessary legislation, I shall feel very grateful for your advice. 

The great body of moderate persons will I think approve, 
unless some cannonade is opened against us in the newspapers 
and they axe frightened from their guns. 

Lords Salisbury and Carnarvon, B[eresford] Hope and Hub- 
bard must be persuaded that, we do not mean to persecxite their 
friends, only to make them act reasonably. Lord Shaftesbury 
and his following must be convinced that there is no danger 
of weapons intended for other purposes rebounding against 
themselves, unless in such cases as are obvious violations of the 

I trust you may be able and willing to help us. I am sure 
there is a well-grounded alarm caused by the lawlessness which 
has sprung up of late, and which is sure to go on and increase, 
if we wait for a general amendment of the administration of 
the ecclesiastical law, which may I fear be expected to be ac- 
complished about the Greek Kalends. . . . 

The Archbishop of York is thoroughly with me in the matter 
on which I write. 

The Queen had already shown her antipathy to the 
Ritualistic movement by her protest against receiving ex- 
treme High Churchmen into her Household ; and before the 
end of February she talked earnestly to Derby about ' the 
duty of the Government to discourage Ritualism in the 


Church.' The Archbishop's memorandum dwelt on the 
lawlessness of selfwilled incumbents, the complicated and 
cumbrous proceedings of the ecclesiastical courts, and the 
necessity for ' some simple, summary, and inexpensive 
process, for securing obedience to the law.' The Bishops, 
Disraeli was told, suggested that summary effect should be 
given to a monition issued by the Ordinary, the Bishop, on 
the advice of a diocesan board, half clergy, half laity, to be 
enforced by sequestration, subject to an appeal to the Arch- 
bishop of the Province. Disraeli at once, as on the House- 
hold difficulty, consulted Salisbury, who put the capital ob- 
jection in a nut-shell : ' I sympathise with you sincerely in 
having this trouble put upon you. The Archbishop is ask- 
ing for an impossibility: that it shall be as easy to apply a 
much-disputed law, as if it were undisputed.' Salisbury 
proceeded to detail his criticism in a note. 

Note ~by Lord Salisbury. 

March 2, 1874. Most people will sympathise with the Arch- 
bishop's desire to prevent ' rash innovations which destroy the 
peace of parishes.' The difficulty is to devise the legislation that 
will do this without producing a civil war in the Church of 
England. The memorandum is vague: and upon the most es- 
sential point ambiguous. I cannot help thinking that the ac- 
quiescence of the Bishops is due to that cardinal ambiguity. 

It proposes to give to a Bishop, acting with a council of clergy 
and churchwardens, a power of forbidding under pain of seques- 
tration something but what? May they forbid anything 
they please? or only anything illegal? The distinction is vital: 
but there is nothing in the memorandum to indicate which kind 
of power they are to have. I must, therefore, examine both 

1. Let us assume that they are to have the power of forbid- 
ding anything they please. I cannot conceive that so despotic 
a proposal would pass. . . . 

I pass to the second alternative. Let us assume that the 
Bishop and his council are, by the new legislation, to have power 
of forbidding, not what they please, but what is illegal. I can- 
not see what advantage such an enactment would bring. Its 
object is to avoid costly litigation. But the question would still 


remain what is illegal : and that question can only be decided 
in a court of justice. . . . 

I conclude therefore that the proposals of the memorandum, 
if understood one way, would be contrary to the whole tenor 
of English law, and would certainly break up the Establish- 
ment: if understood the other way, they would not attain the 
cheapness and the simplicity they have in view. 

Disraeli was very reluctant to meddle with a thorny 
question which must necessarily divide his Cabinet. But 
events rapidly forced his hand. Within a few weeks an in- 
discretion of the press revealed the intentions of the Bishops, 
whereupon public feeling began to kindle, the Protestant 
party demanded legislation of an even more stringent kind, 
and Pusey in a series of letters to The Times marshalled 
High Churchmen in general to take their stand by the 
Ritualists. It was clear that a hornets' nest was being 
stirred; and the Queen seized the occasion to bring strong 
pressure to bear on Disraeli to support the Archbishop. 

From Queen Victoria. 

WINDSOR, March 20, '74. Mr. Disraeli is aware, the Queen 
believes, that the Archbishop of Canterbury intends to intro- 
duce a Bill after Easter to check the prevalence of Ritualism 
in the Church of England, which is becoming very alarming. 

!No measure so important affecting the Established Church 
should be treated as an open question, but should have the full 
support of the Government. 

As far as the Bill may be directed against practices so lately 
declared illegal, little difficulty can arise. But the Queen wishes 
to express further that she warmly sympathises with the laity 
in general and with those of the clergy, who wish to carry on 
the service according to long-established usage. 

The Queen therefore earnestly hopes that her Government may 
equally support any dispensing powers in the Bill that may be 
added for their protection or suggest others to meet the same ob- 
ject. Her earnest wish is that Mr. Disraeli should go as far as he 
can without embarrassment to the Government, in satisfying the 
Protestant feeling of the country in relation to this measure. 

The Queen's proposal, which was in effect that those 
clergy who erred on the side of excess of ceremony should be 


restrained and punished, but those who erred on the side of 
defect, should be protected, provoked very naturally a strong 
protest to Disraeli from Salisbury. 

From Lord Salisbury. 

INDIA OFFICE (Undated). A very unpleasant state of things. 
Of course I cannot and I suspect other members of the Cabinet 
could not support such a Bill as is here sketched out. But 
I hope that no serious difficulty is really impending. I saw 
the Bishop of Peterborough on Thursday. He assured me that 
the Bishops had as a body approved of no Bill; and that the 
majority of them were opposed to any Bill giving them despotic 
powers. All he wanted was power to stop practices which he 
thought illegal, pending the decision of the proper court. 

This is a perfectly reasonable proposal and at the same 
time it might be made to satisfy the Queen. 

Such a unilateral Bill as she proposes would be simply im- 
possible to draw. If you gave a dispensing power to Bishops 
they would use it on both sides; and you cannot name the ex- 
cepted practices in an Act of Parliament. 

I have seen Liddon. He was very moderate: promised me 
that he and Pusey would write to the chief Ritualists in the most 
earnest terms to warn them of the danger of their proceedings. 
This has been done. But he told me that he was being treated as 
a renegade by a large section of his party. . . . 

Salisbury further pointed out that the procedure sug- 
gested by the Archbishop's Bill involved a fundamental 
change in the status of the clergy. At present the bene- 
ficed clergy were freeholders so long as they obeyed known 
conditions; under the Archbishop's scheme they would be 
subjected to a purely discretionary power. But Salisbury 
was anxious to find a modus vivendi; and had various talks 
with Cairns to that end. Cairns was as little disposed to 
accept the Archbishop's proposal as Salisbury. 

From Lord Cairns. 

5, CROMWELL HOUSES, S. W:, March 25, 1874. This is a very 
embarrassing question. 

I have a strong opinion that if it were attempted to carry 
or support a Bill like this, as a Government, it would lead to 
a secession of several members of the Cabinet 


I doubt much whether the Evangelical and ' Protestant ' 
division of the Church would be willing to give to Bishops and 
Archbishops as much power and discretion as this Bill does. 

The Bill is full of crudities and unworkable provisions, and 
the alterations in some of its leading features shew that its 
framers are not decided as to what they mean. 

By the Bill the Archbishop and his Vicar-General could decide 
the most knotty point of law as to ecclesiastical ritual or practice 
without appeal. 

I should, individually, much prefer an enactment by which 
six household parishioners (without any fantastic council), de- 
claring themselves members of the Church, might, on giving 
security for costs, complain of any breach of the law . . . ; 
the complaint to be made in a summary way to the Bishop, and 
an appeal from him to the Queen in Council, to be referred 
to the Appellate Court, .with ecclesiastical assessors, under the 
Act of last year. 

Something like this passed a select committee of the H. of 
L. a few years ago, and was assented to by, inter olios, Lord 

With Cairns's help Disraeli set himself to make the 
Archbishop's Bill a more workable and practicable measure ; 
substituting for the brand-new diocesan board the assessors 
provided under the Church Discipline Act, and providing 
that the ultimate appeal should be to the Privy Council 
instead of the Archbishop. Disraeli was well aware of the 
pitfalls, and therefore, while lending his aid to the Arch- 
bishop, was careful to do so as a layman of influence rather 
than as Prime Minister. 

To Lady Bradford. 

WHITEHALL, March 26, 1874. . . . At twelve to-day, the 
Archbishop comes. There falls to me the hardest nut to crack, 
that ever was the lot of a Minister. A headstrong step, and 
it is not only Ministries that wd. be broken up, but political 
parties altogether, even the Anglican Church itself. 

I have no one really to consult with. I can listen to my 
colleagues, and all they say is worth attention, but they are 
all prejudiced, one way or other. . . . 

To Queen Victoria. 

2, WHITEHALL GARDENS, April 18, 1874. Mr. Disraeli with 
his humble duty to your Majesty : 


He has just had an interview with the Archbishops of Canter- 
bury and York. 

They informed him of the result of the meeting of the Bishops 
yesterday at Lambeth, when they submitted to them the new Bill, 
framed on the lines suggested by Mr. Disraeli and the Lord 
Chancellor. These new propositions have at least secured unani- 
mity on the part of the Bench of prelates: the High Church 
Bishops, especially Salisbury l and Oxford, 2 though still ex- 
pressing their opinion that legislation is unnecessary, assenting 
to the proposed measures. This is something. 

It is clearly understood, that the Prime Minister, and the 
Lord Chancellor, have assisted in these deliberations, and in 
this correspondence, only as two Churchmen, not without in- 
fluence, but in no way or degree binding on your Majesty's 

The only object of Lord Cairns and Mr. Disraeli has been to 
further your Majesty's wishes in this matter, which will always 
be with them a paramount object. 

After the statement of the Archbishop of Canterbury in the 
House of Lords next Monday, and the first reading of the Bill, 
Mr. Disraeli will summon a Cabinet, probably on Wednesday, 
for its 'consideration. 

Mr. Disraeli refrains from being sanguine as to this appeal, 
but he is supported by the conviction, that his efforts, which 
have been unceasing, have at least prevented some mischief from 
occurring, and he can only assure your Majesty, that in this, 
as he hopes in all things, your Majesty may rely on his efforts 
for the advantage of your realm and Church. 

So strong was the public feeling of the necessity for 
legislation to prevent anarchy that, in spite of the growing 
opposition of High Churchmen and of the doubts as to the 
machinery suggested, the Bill passed both its first and its 
second reading in the Lords without a division; and Salis- 
bury appeared as the Government mouthpiece on the latter 
occasion. The Government, he said, occupied an inde- 
pendent position. He admitted that a check to lawlessness 
was desirable ; but he dwelt strongly on the danger of jeopar- 
dising the spirit of toleration on which the stately fabric 
of the Establishment reposed. The three great schools in 
the Church, the Sacramental, the Emotional, and the Philo- 

i Moberly. 2 Mackarness. 


sophical, must be frankly accepted; no attempt must be 
made to drive any of them into secession. Cairns grumbled 
to Disraeli that he should be sorry if this speech ' was to 
continue to be the expression of the manner in which, as a 
Cabinet, we looked at questions of this kind.' But Dis- 
raeli was maneuvering with great skill to preserve the 
unity of his Cabinet in a difficult position. Here is his 
account of a critical moment in the Committee stage in the 

To Lady Bradford. 

2, WHITEHALL GARDENS, June 5, 1874. The proceedings of 
yesterday in the H. of Lords were the most important in the 
history of the present Government. You saw, then, the result 
of all my anxious deliberations with the Archbishops for the 
last three months and more; of my long counsels with Lord 
Cairns; and of the anxious discussions of many Cabinets. 

Nothing could be more triumphant: the Archbishops deferring 
entirely to the Ministry; and Ld. Salisbury himself supporting 
the masterly, and commanding, exposition of the Lord Chancellor. 
Every arrangement was brought about, and every calculation 

You were in the secret which even the Fairy 1 was not, tho' 
I shall now tell her all; but the admirable sangfroid with which 
our amendments were divided between Ld. Shaftesbury and the 
Bp. of Peterboro' must have been amusing to you. I think 
the whole affair, in conception and execution, one of the most 
successful, as it certainly is one of the most important, events 
in modern political history. I don't think Bismarck really 
could have done better; and I believe the Church will be im- 
mensely strengthened, notwithstanding Beauchamp will probably 
resign and, I fear, our friend Bath is furious. I fear, too, we 
are doomed not to meet at Longleat. 

I cannot give you a good account of myself. I was well 
yesterday, and in good spirits considering I had not had the 
solace of seeing you; I looked after affairs in both Houses, 
guided the Licensing Bill in the Commons thro' some quick- 
sands, and frequently visited the Lords, conferring with D. 
of Richmond, Bishops of Peterboro' and Winchester, Ld. Derby, 
and Beauchamp during the crisis. The latter came to me twice 
while under the Throne, to assure me the Lord Chancellor had 

i Queen Victoria. See above, p. 283, and Vol. VI., ch. ' Beaconsfield 
and the Queen.' 


ruined everything, and when I mildly mentioned that Ld. Salis- 
bury approved, he said 'the High Ch. thought nothing of Lord 
Salisbury.' But, as Derby said, ' if Beauchamp disapproves, 
we must be right.' 

Our House sate till two o'ck. ; and it was critical to the last, 
so I cd. not leave my place. And then I had to write to the 
Fairy on the proceedings of both Houses, as I had promised 
her. I did it in my room in the H. of C., but when I rose from 
my seat, I found the enemy had attacked my left foot. I was 
obliged to send a policeman, over half our quarter of the town, 
to find me a cab: and here I am with the D. of Manchester, Ld. 
Fitzwalter, and Andrew Montagu, with three different appoint- 
ments bet [wee] n 12 and 2, and the absolute necessity of being 
in the H. of C. at a /2 past 4. ... 

[Same date}. . . . I look upon the affair in the Lords as the 
greatest thing I have ever done. . . . 

Shaftesbury's amendment, which was supported by the 
High Churchmen Salisbury, Selborne, and Bath, and in- 
serted in the Bill, was the vital one which established a 
single lay judge, to be appointed by the two Archbishops, 
as the sole tribunal of first instance. The Bishop of Peter- 
borough's proposal was to constitute a * neutral zone ' of 
practices some affected by High Church, some by Low, 
some by Broad which should not be liable to prosecution. 
Its exact value in the tactics of the campaign is shown by 
a sentence in a letter from Cairns to Disraeli on June 12 : 

You may be interested to know that the Bishop of Peter- 
borough's clause seems to have perfectly done its work as a 
' red herring ' across the scent ; and the probability is that with 
the thankful approval of both Archbishops, most of the Bishops, 
Shaftesbury, Salisbury, Harrowby, Beauchamp and the Ritual- 
ists, it will be withdrawn on Monday, and the remodelled Bill 
pass out of Committee with universal consent, if not applause! 

Cairns's expectation was fulfilled. So adroitly had Dis- 
raeli pulled the wires behind the scenes that the Bill was 
read a third time in its amended form without a division 
and sent down to the Commons. Neither the Government 
nor the Prime Minister had as yet taken any overt responsi- 
bility for it ; and it was a respected private member, Russell 


Gurney, the Recorder of London, who moved the second 
reading on Thursday, July 9. On the eve of the debate 
the Archbishop of Canterbury wrote to urge, in the Queen's 
name, as well as in his own, that it would be highly inex- 
pedient to allow the Bill to fail, and so to encourage a 
perilous agitation in the autumn. Its progress was at once 
seriously threatened by the greatest orator in the House. 
Gladstone emerged, by no means for the first time, from his 
retirement, delivered an impassioned speech of strong op- 
position on the broad ground of liberty, and announced that 
he would move six voluminous Resolutions defining the 
whole position of the Established Church. For the mo- 
ment he carried his hearers away, but a powerful argument 
from Harcourt, who reminded the House that the Church 
was based on successive Acts of Uniformity, broke the 
spell of the great enchanter; and when Hardy appeared to 
support Gladstone's case, he was met by noisy demonstra- 
tions of disapproval. Disraeli watched the rising temper 
of the House and of the public, and drew the conclusion 
that his own sentiments about Ritualism were shared by the 
great body of his countrymen, and that therefore it was 
now the moment to come into the open and associate himself 
and the Government with the national resolve. He was no 
doubt confirmed in his decision by the insistence of his 

From Queen Victoria. 

WINDSOR, July 10, '74. . . . She [the Queen] is deeply grieved 
to see the want of Protestant feeling in the Cabinet; Mr. Glad- 
stone's conduct is much to be regretted though it is not sur- 
prising: but she wrote to him in the strongest terms of the 
danger to the Church and of the intention of the Archbishop 
to bring forward a measure to try and regulate the shameful 
practices of the Ritualists. 

He [Disraeli] should state to the Cabinet how strongly the 
Queen feels and how faithful she is to the Protestant faith, 
to defend and maintain which, her family was placed upon 
the Throne! She owns she often asks herself what has become 
of the Protestant feeling of Englishmen. . . . 

July 11. The Queen thanks Mr. Disraeli for his letter which 


is very reassuring. It is a most important question. Mr. Dis- 
raeli must have managed his refractory Cabinet most skilfully. 
(Telegram in cypher) July 13. Pray show that you are in 
earnest and determined to pass this Bill and not to be deterred 
by threats of delay. 

Accordingly Disraeli announced that Gladstone's Resolu- 
tions amounted to a challenge of the whole Reformation set- 
tlement, and must be brought to an early issue; and on the 
resumption of the second reading debate, he urged that 
the Bill should be passed, and passed during the current 
session. Its object was, he said adopting a phrase from 
Gladstone's speech which has ever since been fathered on 
himself * to put down Ritualism.' He protested that he 
considered all three parties in the Church, characterised 
respectively by ceremony, enthusiasm and free speculation, 
to be perfectly legitimate; but he wished to discourage 
' practices by a portion of the clergy, avowedly symbolic 
of doctrines which the same clergy are bound, in the most 
solemn manner, to refute and repudiate.' He was prepared 
to treat with reverence Roman Catholic doctrines and cere- 
monies, when held and practised by Roman Catholics ; what 
he did object to was the * Mass in masquerade.' The 
speech elicited the sympathy of the whole House with in- 
significant exceptions. The second reading, in spite of 
Gladstone's vehement opposition, was carried without a 
division; and a Gladstonian of proved fidelity urged his 
leader to withdraw Resolutions for which not twenty men 
in his own party would vote a suggestion which Glad- 
stone was too experienced a Parliamentarian to disregard. 
' An immense triumph : Gladstone ran away,' was Dis- 
raeli's complacent report to Lady Chesterfield. The en- 
thusiasm which carried the second reading without a divi- 
sion was prolonged throughout the Committee; the mem- 
bers were * mad,' said the protesting Hardy ; and all the 
important clauses were passed by vast majorities. Only 
one point of detail needs notice. The Archbishops had been 
careful to give the Bishop a veto so as to prevent frivolous 


and irresponsible prosecutions of devoted clergymen. In 
the teeth of Gladstone's remonstrances there was inserted a 
clause permitting appeal against the veto to the Archbishop 
of the Province, and, in spite of Gladstone's renewed as- 
sault, and of a plea from both front benches against dis- 
turbing the settlement reached in the Lords, the House 
maintained its amendment by a majority of twenty-three. 

The right of a Bishop to uncontrolled rule in his diocese 
at once became the war-cry of High Churchmen, and was 
warmly taken up by Salisbury and their other representa- 
tives in the Cabinet. ' Affairs are very critical, and I be- 
lieve that wrongheaded Marquis will bolt after all,' wrote 
Disraeli late in July to Lady Bradford. In the first days 
of August it looked as if the Bill would fail and the 
Cabinet might be broken up. Disraeli was urgent with the 
Archbishop to get the Lords to acquiesce in the Commons' 
amendment, without which, in his opinion, the Commons 
would refuse to proceed with the Bill. The Archbishop 
himself was inclined to share Disraeli's fears, but could 
not persuade his suffragans to surrender what they held to 
be their unquestionable episcopal rights. Salisbury urged 
the House of Lords to disregard the kind of bluster which 
was always used when the Peers showed a disposition to 
insist on a disputed point. He for himself repudiated the 
bugbear of a majority in the House of Commons. The 
Lords accordingly struck out the appeal to the Archbishop 
of the Province ; and Disraeli was in despair. 

To Anne Lady Chesterfield. 

Private. 2, WHITEHALL GARDENS, Aug. 5. Things are as 
bad as possible: I think the Bill is lost, but worse things will 
happen in its train. 

I found Carnarvon at the Carlton, dining in a tumultuous 
crowd of starving senators. He not only voted against the 
Archbishops, Ld. Chanr., and D. of Richmond, but spoke against 
them; and did as much harm as Salisbury: more, they say. . . . 

Eventually, however, owing largely to the Archbishop's 
unwearied diligence in bringing his personal influence to 

1874] 'BLUSTEK' AND 'GIBES' 327 

bear, Disraeli managed to induce the Commons to surrender 
the amendment rather than lose the Bill ; and to be content 
with a little strong language in the place of destructive ac- 
tion. The Bill, therefore, passed; but the final stage, on 
Wednesday, August 5, just before prorogation, was of 
dramatic quality. Salisbury's stinging phrase about blus- 
ter provoked an outbreak. Harcourt, long Disraeli's friend 
in private, made from the front Opposition bench his most 
notable approximation to him in public. Amid general 
cheers, he appealed to him, as ' a leader who is proud of the 
House of Commons and of whom the House of Commons is 
proud,' to vindicate its dignity ' against the ill-advised rail- 
ing of a rash and rancorous tongue, even though it be the 
tongue of a Cabinet Minister, a Secretary of State, and a 
colleague.' The speech provoked a satirical rebuke from 
Harcourt's leader, Gladstone; but Disraeli responded sym- 
pathetically. The necessity of putting down a ' small but 
pernicious sect ' was, he said, urgent. The House, there- 
fore, would do wisely to pass the Bill, even without the 
amendment; and members should not be diverted from the 
course which, as wise and grave men, they thought it right 
to follow, by any allusions to a speech in the other House of 

My noble friend was long a member of this House, and is 
well known to many of the members even of this Parliament. 
He is a great master of gibes and flouts and jeers; but I do 
not suppose there is anyone who is prejudiced against a Member 
of Parliament on account of such qualifications. My noble 
friend knows the House of Commons well, and he is not per- 
haps superior to the consideration that by making a speech of 
this kind, and taunting respectable men like ourselves with 
being ' a blustering majority ' he might probably stimulate the 
amour propre of some individuals to take the course which he 
wants, and to defeat the Bill. Now I hope we shall not fall 
into that trap. I hope we shall show my noble friend that we 
remember some of his manoeuvres when he was a simple member 
of this House, and that we are not to be taunted into taking a 
very indiscreet step, a step ruinous to all our own wishes and 
expectations, merely to show that we resent the contemptuous 
phrases of one of our colleagues. 


It was no doubt chaff, but it was chaff with a sting in it ; 
nevertheless Disraeli, having conspicuously asserted himself, 
and vindicated the Commons, was anxious that a public 
difference should not degenerate into a private quarrel. 

To Lord Salisbury. 

2, WHITEHALL GARDENS, Aug. 5, 1874. Harcourt attacked your 
speech in H. of Lords last night. I conceived a playful reply 
to. his invective, but what was not perhaps ill conceived was, 
I fear, ill executed, and knowing what figure that style of 
rhetoric makes in ' reports,' I write this line to express my hope, 
that you will not misconceive what I may have been represented 
as saying, or believe, for a moment, that I have any other feel- 
ings towards you but those of respect and regard. 

Salisbury wrote a good-humoured reply, and took an 
opportunity before the prorogation to explain in the Lords 
that he had never used the expression ' blustering majority,' 
and that when he talked of ' bluster ' he was referring to 
the argument that, when there was a difference of opinion 
between the two Houses, it was the privilege of the Com- 
mons to insist and the duty of the Lords to yield. There 
was accordingly no lasting soreness between Disraeli and 
his colleague a happy result, creditable to both men, which 
many of the public and some even of their friends were slow 
to believe. 

From Lady Derby. 

Private. 23, ST. JAMES'S SQUARE, S.W., Aug. 7, 1874.. . . 
I thought you might like to have some private report of the wild 
man of your team. 1 I have just seen him, and all is right for 
the moment; he seems much pleased with a letter he has had 
from you ; he was hard at work at his chemistry and experiments, 
which the state of the atmosphere was interfering with, and he 
will be off to Dieppe to-night. I have had some anxious moments 
this week, and dread a recurrence of difficulties from that 
quarter in November when Cabinets recommence. 

To Lord Carnarvon. 

LONGLEAT, Aug. 8th. I had never seen the newspapers, and 
of course took it for granted that Harcourt was strictly accurate 

i Here Lady Derby was almost certainly quoting a playful phrase of 
Disraeli's own coinage. 


in his quotation of Lord Salisbury's speech, particularly as 
Gavins had complained to me, the night before, of S's violent 
speech. It was a mess; but Salisbury has behaved like a gentle- 
man, and I earnestly trust that we shall all manage to keep 
together. No effort, for that object, will be spared on my 
side. . . . 

For the moment, and from the Parliamentary standpoint, 
Disraeli's championship of the Public Worship Regulation 
Bill was an enormous success, and riveted his hold on his 
Sovereign, the legislature, and public opinion, without even 
dislocating seriously his hesitating Cabinet. But subse- 
quent experience of the scandals of imprisoned clergymen 
men of high character if doubtful judgment has shown 
that he would have done better, in the interest both of the 
Church and of his party, to adhere to his original position, 
and to discourage and postpone legislation which certainly 
brought to the Church not peace but a sword. ' No one could 
blame an ordinary Prime Minister for fixing his attention 
almost exclusively on a growing lawlessness which seemed 
to demand prompt abatement, and ignoring delicate points 
of Church tendency and feeling to which Archbishops and 
Bishops and a large number of High Church laymen were 
equally blind. But a deeper insight might have been ex- 
pected from Disraeli, who never failed to recognise the pro- 
found importance of the spiritual in human nature, whose 
historical studies had made him thoroughly familiar with 
the inflammability of High Churchmen, as shown in Dr. 
Sacheverell's case, and who had had personal experience, in 
the Irish Church controversy, both of their detachment from 
political party, and of their electoral weight. He had warn- 
ings both from ecclesiastics and from wirepullers. The 
Bishop of Brechin (Alexander Forbes) told him in June 
that three-fourths of the clergy a class whom the Bishop 
called ' proverbially vindictive ' regarded the Bill with ex- 
treme discontent. ' That the great mass of the clergy, who 
had no sympathy with the effrenata licentia, of the younger 
men, should make common cause with them against the Bill 


shows how strongly they feel, and I put it to you whether 
15,000 discontented men of education scattered thro' the 
country is not a thing to be dreaded by any Government.' 
The gross exaggeration of this statement probably blinded 
Disraeli to the substratum of truth which it contained. But 
his party manager, Gorst, reported in the same general sense. 
' The potential electoral strength of the High Church party/ 
he wrote on July 29, ' is generally under-estimated on our 
side. If they became actively hostile, as the Dissenters were 
to Gladstone before the dissolution, we should lose many 
seats both in the counties and boroughs.' It has always 
been the opinion of some of the shrewdest judges that te- 
sentment at Disraeli's action on the Public Worship Regu- 
lation Bill counted for much in the readiness of the High 
Church leaders to think evil of his policy on the Eastern 
Question and to throw themselves ardently into the support 
of Gladstone's whirlwind propaganda. 

In one of his letters to Archbishop Tait at a critical mo- 
ment in the history of the Bill, 1 Disraeli described himself 
as ' one who, from the first, has loyally helped you, and 
under immense difficulties.' There is no reason to doubt 
that, over and above the political game, Disraeli was, in 
his conduct of this awkward business, sincerely anxious to 
promote the interests of religion in the Church. It is a 
shallow cynicism that refuses to see earnestness as well as 
insight coupled unfortunately with an inadequate sense 
of the historic continuity of the Church in such a passage 
as the following from his second reading speech in the House 
of Commons. 

I have never addressed any body of my countrymen for the 
last three years without having taken the opportunity of inti- 
mating to them that a great change was occurring in the 
politics of the world, that it would be well for them to prepare 
for that change, and that it was impossible to conceal from our- 
selves that the great struggle between the temporal and the 
spiritual power, which had stamped such indelible features upon 

i For a detailed history of the controversy on this measure, see 
chapters 21 and 24 of the Life of Archbishop Tait. 


the history of the past, was reviving in our own time. ... I 
spoke from strong conviction and from a sense of duty. . . . 
When I addressed a large body of my countrymen as lately as 
autumn last, I said then, as I say now looking to what is 
occurring in Europe, looking at the great struggle between the 
temporal and spiritual power which has been precipitated by those 
changes of which many in this House are so proud, and of which, 
while they may triumph in their accomplishment, they ought 
not to shut their eyes to the inevitable consequences I said 
then, and say now, that in the disasters or rather in the disturb- 
ance and possible disasters which must affect Europe, and which 
must to a certain degree sympathetically affect England, it would 
be wise for us to rally on the broad platform of the Reformation. 
Believing as I do that those principles were never so completely 
and so powerfully represented as by the Church of England; be- 
lieving that without the learning, the authority, the wealth, and 
the independence of the Church of England, the various sects of 
the Reformation would by this time have dwindled into nothing, 
I called the attention of the country, so far as I could, to the 
importance of rallying round the institution of the Church of 
England, based upon those principles of the Reformation which 
the Church was called into being to represent. 

A private letter in the autumn provoked by a magazine 
article of Gladstone's on Ritualism further elucidates Dis- 
raeli's position. 

To Lady Bradford. 

2, WHITEHALL GARDENS, Oct. 5. . . . I have read G., but with 
difficulty. He is a cumbrous writer. Now for the substance, 
however. Nothing. He does not meet the great question, wh. 
every instant is becoming greater. 

All at least all civilised beings must be for the 'beauty 
of holiness.' No one stronger than myself. In ecclesiastical 
affairs I require order, taste, ceremony. But these are quite 
compatible with a sincere profession of the estab[lishe]d re- 
ligion of the country. What I object to is the introduction of 
a peculiar set of ceremonies, wh. are avowedly symbolical of 
doctrines wh. that Established Church was instituted, and is 
supported, to refute and to repudiate. This is what the people 
of England are thinking of. His article is mere ' leather and 
prunella.' . . . 

If Disraeli's well-intentioned efforts had not materially 
contributed to strengthen the Church of England, he had 


the satisfaction this session of settling the affairs of the 
Church of Scotland on a generally acceptable basis. The 
question of patronage had agitated Scottish churchmen for 
300 years. There was a strong feeling in Presbyterian 
Scotland, thoroughly conformable to its special type of 
Christianity, that the congregation was the proper author- 
ity to select the minister; and it was largely because this 
privilege was denied in the Establishment and the patronage 
rested to a great extent in the Crown and in the hands of 
laymen that there had been the momentous secession of the 
Free Kirk in the forties. But even in the Establishment 
there had been several variations of custom, and on the ad- 
vice of Lord-Advocate Gordon on the one hand, and of the 
Duke of Richmond, a great lay patron, on the other, Dis- 
raeli determined to settle the vexed question by a universal 
transfer of lay patronage to the congregations. The Bill 
passed the Lords with ease, being blessed by that eminent 
Presbyterian Liberal, the Duke of Argyll; but Gladstone, 
enticed by the lure of ecclesiastical controversy, appeared in 
the Commons to make a vigorous protest, mainly on the 
strange ground that it would be an injustice to the Free Kirk 
to remedy a grievance in the conditions of establishment 
which caused them to secede ! He further expressed a fear 
lest the measure should hasten on disestablishment, a policy 
of which he professed himself ' no idolater,' though he was 
willing that his memory should be judged by his dealings 
with the Church of Ireland. Disraeli, in reply, naturally 
expressed the hope that upon Gladstone's tombstone there 
would not be inscribed the destruction of another Church. 
It was not Gladstone's fault that his epitaph lacked this ad- 
ditional embellishment. In later years he gave in his ad- 
hesion to the policy of disestablishment for Scotland which 
in 1874 he professed to dread; but the removal of the 
grievance of patronage, which had been effected in his 
despite by Disraeli's prudence, had by that time so strength- 
ened the Church of Scotland in the affections of the Scottish 
people that the assault was repulsed without serious diffi- 


culty ; and the whole current of Scottish opinion has now for 
many years set in the direction, not of disestablishment, 
but of reunion of all Presbyterians in one national Church. 
'Should this desirable consummation be reached, Scotsmen 
should not forget Disraeli's important share in creating the 
predisposing conditions. 

There was one other ecclesiastical measure, introduced by 
Ministers in July, which gave Disraeli some trouble, and 
did not enhance the reputation of the Government. This 
was an endowed Schools Bill, which modified the policy of 
Gladstonian legislation, by restoring to the Church of Eng- 
land certain schools on which their founder had impressed a 
specially Church character, but which had been thrown open 
indiscriminately by the last Parliament. However the- 
oretically defensible, it was hardly an act of wisdom to dis- 
turb an arrangement accepted by Parliament and already in 
force; and the Liberals, under Gladstone's lead, came to- 
gether with some animation to protest. Disraeli saw that 
it was desirable to abandon a course which Salisbury had 
pressed upon his colleagues; so he amusingly assured the 
House that the clauses of the Government Bill were so ob- 
scure as to be unintelligible to him, and he must therefore 
withdraw them for reconsideration. The Bill was accord- 
ingly reduced to a measure merely to substitute Charity 
Commissioners appointed by the Tory Government for En- 
dowed Commissioners appointed by their predecessors. 

To Queen Victoria. 

HOUSE OF COMMONS, Wednesday, 1 a.m. [July 25, 1874.] 
Mr. Disraeli with his humble duty to your Majesty: 

The debate on endowed schools has ended with a good, ma- 
jority for the Government; between 60 and 70. 

What is of equal importance, with a much better tone in the 
House: everything good-tempered and conciliatory. 

The Cabinet agreed to many concessions yesterday, though 
with difficulty: Lord Salisbury stood almost alone, but he was 
very unmanageable. It is entirely his Bill, but had Mr. Dis- 
raeli refused to sanction it, which he only did after many great 
alterations by himself and Lord Derby, Lord Salisbury would 


never have consented to your Majesty's Government passing the 
'Public Worship Bill'; and that was all-important. 

From, Queen Victoria. 

Confidential. OSBORNE, July 27, '74. The Queen has re- 
ceived Mr. Disraeli's letter of yesterday. She sees all the diffi- 
culties and herself has regretted that the Church Regulation 
Bill could not have been delayed till next year, on account of 
the inconvenience and difficulty it caused to the new Govern- 
ment: but it was impossible. 

As however Mr. Disraeli always likes to have the Queen's 
opinion, she will state to him openly what she thinks it most 
important for him and his government to avoid, in order to 
enable them to carry on the government for a length of time, 
and thus to save the country from frequent crisises. 

He will recollect that when he left office in '68 the Queen 
urged upon him the importance of keeping the Conservative 
party to what it really ought to be, viz.: Conservative, and not 
to attempt to be more liberal than the Liberal party, which the 
passing of the Reform Bill (which was forced no doubt upon 
the late Lord Derby) rather led them to appear to be. 

Now, while being decidedly still of this opinion, which the 
Queen considers to be essential to the wellbeing of the British 
Constitution and safety of the Crown, it is at the same time 
equally important that there should be no attempt at a retro- 
grade policy which would alarm the country and injure the 
present Government. The country has great confidence in Mr. 
Disraeli, but not so much in those of his adherents, not to say 
colleagues, who show a disposition to urge such a policy as she 
has named above. This would be, the Queen need not say to 
Mr. Disraeli, very dangerous; and while improvements, modifi- 
cations and alterations may no doubt in many cases where 
new systems have not worked well be very desirable and even 
necessary, any reversal of principle ought to be avoided, even 
for the sake of precedent. The Queen feels sure that, with Mr. 
Disraeli's very enlightened views, he would be as much against 
this as any one; still this Endowed Schools Bill has been by 
many looked at in this light and she trusts that Mr. Disraeli 
will take any opportunity he may have to show that this is not 
the policy of the Government. 

Disraeli's letters to his intimate friends give a kaleido- 
scopic view of the ups and downs of the Parliamentary 
session at its height. Here, first of all, are some extracts 


which show his own personal exertions in order to augment 
the art treasures of the nation. 

To Lady Bradford. 

H. OP COMM., June 2, 1874. . . . I mean to rise early to- 
morrow and go to Christie's. If the Barker pictures are as rare 
and wondrous as I hear, it shall go hard if the nation does not 
possess them. I always remember with delight that in 1867-8, 
on my own responsibility, I bought for the nation the Blacas 
collection of gems 50,000 ! 

If I could give our gallery some pictures of equal quality, 
one wd. not have lived in vain. 

2, WHITEHALL GARDENS, June 4. . . . I have been closeted 
the whole morning with Mr. Burton, the Director of the National 
Gallery, concocting my plans for Saturday's sale. I believe it 
will end in the H. of Comm. repudiating my purchase, and I 
shall have to appeal to Rothschild, Lord Bradford, and some 
other great friends, to take the treasures off my hands, and 
relieve me, by a raffle, from my sesthetical embarrassments. We 
must be very silent till Saturday, as I don't want any one to 
know the Government is a purchaser. . . . 

10, DOWNING STREET, June 17. . . . When the debate over the 
pictures comes off, there will be some fun. . . . 

July 28. . . . After all, the great attack, so long threatened, 
about my pictures, ended in vapor. I thought once the vote 
wd. have passed unchallenged, and in silence; but Mr. Hankey 
forced me up, and the purchase 1 was sanctioned amid cheers 
from both sides. , . . 

To Anne Lady Chesterfield. 

H. OF COMM., June 20, 1874. A hurried line. Yesterday was 
a very hard day in the House. The Opposition got so irritated 
at all our new proposals in the Licensing Bill, which are very 
popular, that they waxed factious, and resolved to delay business, 
and throw over the Bill till next Monday. I had a great force 
and beat them throughout the night by large majorities. 

My new troops got blooded, and begged me to sit up dividing 
till 5 o'ck. in the morning; and I am not sure I shd. not have 
done so, had I not found out that I could appoint a morning 
sitting without notice. This quite turned their flank. We 
met this morning accordingly, and have carried the Bill through. 
A great triumph! . . . 

i The pictures bought included a Piero della Francesca, a Pinturic- 
chio, a Luca Signorelli, and two Botticellis. 


To Lady Bradford. 

2, WHITEHALL GARDENS, July 3. . . . Yesterday's debate was 
satisfactory. I think Home Rule received its coup de grace. 

Hartingto"n had spoken in a manner worthy of the subject, 
and his own position, on the previous night. Yesterday Beach 
quite confirmed his rising reputation in the House, and the 
public confidence in my discrimination of character and capacity. 
Lowe was very good; terse, logical, and severely humorous; and 
your friend was not displeased with himself, wh., for him, you 
know is saying a great deal. . . . The most effective passage in 
my speech was the reference to the three Irish Prime Ministers 
I had known, the three Irish Viceroys, etc., etc. All this in the 
synopsis in The Times appears; but in the report it is a hash, 
and the 3 Irish Viceroys are turned into three judges. A curi- 
ous piece of ignorance is ' morbid sentiment ' turned into a 
' mere bit of sentiment,' 1 wh. is a feeble vulgarism. . . . 

Disraeli's speech, on the Home Rule debate was one of 
his very happiest performances. Its keynote was a banter- 
ing protest against the absurd insistence of the Irish in 
proclaiming to the world that they were a subjugated people, 
a conquered race. The House seized the point with im- 
mediate sympathy and punctuated the sentences in which he 
elaborated it with frequent cheers. ' I have always been 
surprised/ he said, f that a people gifted with so much 
genius, so much sentiment, such winning qualities, should 
be I am sure they will pardon my saying it ; my remark 
is an abstract and not a personal one so deficient in self- 
respect.' He denied that the Irish were conquered ; ' they 
are proud of it ; I deny that they have any ground for that 
pride.' England had been subjugated quite as much, but 
never boasted of it. Both the Normans and Cromwell had 
conquered England, before they conquered Ireland. He 
was opposed to Home Rule in the interests of the Irish them- 
selves. ' I am opposed to it because I wish to see at this 
important crisis of the world that perhaps is nearer ar- 
riving than some of us suppose a united people welded in 

i A natural, almost excusable, mistake. In the shorthand note 
' morbid ' would be written ' mrbd,' and ' mere bit ' ' mr bt ' a dif- 
ference of only one letter and a space. 


one great nationality; and because I feel that, if we sanc- 
tion this policy, if we do not cleanse the Parliamentary 
bosom of this perilous stuff, we shall bring about the disin- 
tegration of the Kingdom and the destruction of the Empire.' 

To Lady Bradford. 

2. WHITEHALL GARDENS, July 31. A most severe day yester- 
day, the Irish members having announced their determination, 
whatever might happen, not to allow the continuance of what 
are called their ' Coercion Acts ' to pass ; and their success was 
inevitable with an adequate quantity of staying power. 

I was in my seat 12 hours from 4 to 4 1 ! a most exciting 
scene, with many phases of character. At first they were in 
serried rank, and very firm and resolute : our men the same, and 
Dyke ordered, in the great dining-room, a grilled bone and cham- 
pagne supper at 2 o'ck. to be ready for the Tories. 

As the evening advanced, the Liberal party, who had ostenta- 
tiously informed us that nothing in the world wd. induce them 
to act with the Home Rulers, could no longer resist the oppor- 
tunity of embarrassing, or defeating, the Government, and joined 
the rebels in force; but were defeated our smallest majority 
being 61. 

Then about two, the Irishry began quarrelling among them- 
selves, the more respectable, Butt himself, Sullivan, a clever 
fellow, who wants to be the leader, and Mitchell Henry, an Eng- 
lish millionaire tho ? an Irish member, and who supplies the 
funds of the party, getting ashamed of the orgies of faction in 
wh. they found themselves being steeped; and about three o'ck., 
when they left the House, when the factious divisions took place, 
they were absolutely hissed by their own assumed creatures. And 
a little before 4 o'ck. we tired out, or shamed, even these rapscal- 
lions, and the Bill went thro' Committee amid loud cheers. 

I broke their ranks by keeping my temper and treating Butt 
and his intimate colleagues as gentlemen, wh. they certainly 
are not; but their vanity is insatiable, and these fierce rebels 
did nothing but pay me compliments. . . . 

10, DOWNING STREET, Aug. 1. . . . We have had a long Cabi- 
net, and I have had many deputations and interviews; business 
gets thick the last days, and gentlemen get audiences wh. they 
asked for months ago. You wd. have been amused if you had 
seen and heard all I have done since the Cabinet closed at three 
o'ck.: Sir Henry Rawlinson and the President of the Royal So- 

i ' The hardest life I ever went thro',' Disraeli told Lady Chesterfield. 


ciety and Admiral Sherard Osborn, who want a new polar expedi- 
tion; and Owens College, with a posse of professors and M.P.'s, 
who want 100 thousand pounds and to become a University ; and 

Mr. who says his brother (late M.P,) is low-spirited that, 

after 40 years of Parly, service, ' there is nothing now attached 
to his name' would like to be a Privy Councillor, or baronet, 
and wd. not refuse an Irish peerage, and so on. . . . 

The tone of complacency which Disraeli adopts with 
reference to his achievements during the session is fully 
justified by the comments of the chief Parliamentary ob- 
server of the day. 

Foremost in official position, as in personal success, is the 
Premier. !Nlever did the peculiar genius of Disraeli (it is a 
sublime sort of tact) shine more transcendently than during the 
past session. He has at no period of his career risen higher as 
a Parliamentary speaker, while his management of the House 
is equalled only by that of Lord Palmerston. Not in the zenith 
of his popularity after the election of 1868 did Gladstone come 
near his great rival in personal hold upon the House of Commons. 
. . . Disraeli's slow, deliberate rising in the course of a debate 
is always the signal for an instant filling up of the House and a 
steady settling down to the point of attention, the highest compli- 
ments that can be paid to a speaker. 

At the outset of his current Premiership, Disraeli fixed upon 
a policy of polite consideration, to which he was the more drawn 
as certain members of the Ministry he succeeded were notorious 
for the brusqueness of their manner. The addition of a bit of 
banter and of a dash of serio-comicality lent a spiciness to his 
speech which was always relished, and was never allowed to reach 
the proportion at which the mixture left an unpleasant taste upon 
the Parliamentary palate. . . . Suffering acutely from gout, 
Disraeli has stuck to his post with Spartan-like patience ; and one 
of his most successful speeches, if not, on the whole, his best 
speech of the session that on the Home Rule question was 
delivered after he had been sitting for four hours with folded 
arms on the Treasury Bench, visibly tortured by twinges from 
his slippered and swollen feet. 1 

The somewhat acute difference which had arisen between 
Disraeli and the High Churchmen did not prevent him from 
fulfilling an engagement to pay a visit to his friend, Lord 

i Sir Henry Lucy's Diary of Two Parliaments, Vol. I., p. 40. 


Bath, a conspicuous member of that party, at Longleat im- 
mediately after the close of the session. He came direct 
from Osborne, experiencing on the journey the embarrassing 
attentions which await popular statesmen at the hands of 
their admirers. Bath told Mr. George Russell that Disraeli 
was the dullest guest he ever entertained at Longleat; and 
Disraeli's own accounts suggest that he did not find himself 
in congenial society. 

To Lady Bradford. 

LONGLEAT, WARMINSTER, Aug. 7. . . . Osborne was lovely, its 
green shades refreshing after the fervent glare of the voyage, 
and its blue bay full of white sails. The Faery sent for me ' 
the instant I arrived. I can only describe my reception by tell- 
ing you that I really thought she was going to embrace me. 
She was wreathed with smiles, and as she tattled, glided about 
the room like a bird. She told me it was * all owing to my 
courage and tact,' and then she said ' To think of your having the 
gout all the time ! How you must have suffered ! And you ought 
not to stand now. You shall have a chair ! ' 

Only think of that ! I remember that feu Ld. Derby, after one 
of his severest illnesses, had an audience of Her Majesty, and 
he mentioned it to me, as a proof of the Queen's favor, that Her 
Majesty had remarked to him ' how sorry she was she cd. not 
ask him to be seated.' The etiquette was so severe. 

I remembered all this as she spoke, so I humbly declined the 
privilege, saying I was quite well, but wd. avail myself of her 
gracious kindness if I ever had another attack. . . . 

I have very bad stationery 1 here, but I have sent for some 
official stores from D.S. to-day, and shall then get on better. If 
you find this a stupid epistle, it is the stationery. Their paper, 
muddy ink, and pens, wh. are made from the geese on a common, 
entirely destroy any little genius I have, and literally annihilate 
my power of expression. . . . 

My travelling from S.hampton to Warminster was very fatigu- 
ing. I had to wait at S. and also at Salisbury; an hour at each 
place. They had telegraphed along the line to keep compart- 
ments for me, so wherever I stopped there was an enthusiastic 
group 'Here he is' being the common expression, followed by 
three times three, and little boys running after me. You know 
Jhow really distressed I am at all this. And I had a headache, 
and wanted a cup of tea, and made fruitless efforts to get one. 

i At Longleat. 


I always found outside of my chamber, wh. had been lent me by 
the manager, a watchful band. I got a cup of tea at Salisbury, 
however, from apparently a most haughty young lady; but I 
did not do her justice. She not only asked me for an autograph, 
but to write it in her favorite work, Henrietta Temple! I could 
have refused the Duchess of Manchester, but absolutely had not 
pluck to disobey this Sultana. I never felt more ashamed of 
myself in my life. 

At Salisbury, I found Lady Paget, who was going to Long- 
leat with her son, a very young Etonian. Sir Augustus had 
travelled by an earlier train with the luggage. I cd. not avoid 
giving her a place in my compartment, and she talked, and with 
her usual cleverness, the whole way: an hour of prattle on all 
subjects. . . . 

We did not get to L. till 9, and tho' we dressed in ten minutes, 
people who dine at 8 don't like dining at 9. We were seven 
at table. ... I sate by Lady B. but with a racking headache, 
rare with me, and not in very good spirits, for if Bath was 
rather furious for your defalcation, I cannot say it added to my 
happiness. A more insipid, and stupid, and gloomy dinner I 
never assisted at, and I felt conscious I added my ample quota 
to the insipidity and the stupidity and the gloom. Lady P[aget] 
tried to rally the scene, but she had exhausted her resources 
bet [wee] n Salisbury and Warm[inste]r. 

It was only two hours before we all retired, and had I been 
younger, and still in the days of poetry, I shd. have gone away 
in the night, wh. I used to do in my youth, when I was disgusted. 

This morning things are a little brighter. The Baths are 
appeased. . . . 

Perhaps, and probably, I ought to be pleased. I can only tell 
you the truth, wh. I always do, tho' to no one else. I am wearied 
to extinction and profoundly unhappy. 

Aug. 8. . . . Of all the people here, I like best the chatelaine. 
She is very kind and has offered more than once, and unaffectedly, 
to be my secretary, and copy things for me. Bath says she 
writes an illegible hand. I rather admire it. It reminds me 
somewhat of missals and illuminated MSS. . . . 

Aug. 11. . . . Monday (yesterday) Lady Bath drove me to 
Frome to see Bennett's famous church, with a sanctuary where 
' lay people ' are requested not to place their feet, and among 
other spiritual pageantry, absolutely a Calvary and of good 
sculpture. The church is marvellous; exquisitely beautiful, and 
with the exception of some tawdriness about the high altar, in 
admirable taste. . 


The priest, or sacristan, or whatever he was, who showed us 
over the church, and exhibited the sacred plate, etc., looked rather 
grimly upon me after my anti-ritualistic speeches; and, as Lady 
Bath observed, refrained from exhibiting the ' vestments.' But 
I praised everything, and quite sincerely; and we parted, if not 
fair friends, at least fair foes. The world found out who was 
there, and crowded into the church. They evidently were not 
Bennett's congregation; however, they capped me very much, 
wh. pleased Lady Bath, who would drive me, in consequence, 
round the town in triumph. . . . 

After leaving Longleat and spending a couple of days 
at Fonthill and one in London, Disraeli passed the early 
part of the autumn, with the exception of a week at Bal- 
moral, as the guest of Lady Chesterfield at Bretby; though 
he made a short excursion to the Bradfords at their villa 
on Lake Windermere, and would have visited them at 
Weston in October but for the death of Lord Forester, the 
brother of the two ladies. Although he was seemingly not 
attacked by gout till the middle of September, his letters 
suggest that he was in poor health and in poor spirits. 

To Lady Bradford. < 

10, DOWNING STREET, Aug. 14. . . . You seem surprised I 
went to Fonthill. I went for distraction. I cannot bear being 
alone, and when I join others, I am wearied. I do not think there 
is really any person much unhappier than I am, and not fan- 
tastically so. Fortune, fashion, fame, even power, may increase, 
and do heighten, happiness, but they cannot create it. Happiness 
can only spring from the affections. I am alone, with nothing 
to sustain me, but, occasionally, a little sympathy on paper, and 
that grudgingly. It is a terrible lot, almost intolerable. . . . 

BRETBY PARK, Aug. 20. . . . I came down here very much 
out of sorts, but the kindly methodical life here the regular 
hours, the tranquillity of the sylvan scene, and a delightful com- 
panion, who has the sweetness and simplicity of a flower, have 
combined much to restore me. And increased tone brings that 
serenity of mind, wh. ought to content one, instead of those 
romantic thoughts that tear the heart and spirit, wh. ought to 
vanish with youth, and certainly ought not to be cherished by 
any being who pays rates and taxes. 

Southey wrote a very remarkable poem on the falls of Lodore, 
wh. imitates the rush and crash and splashing and hissing of 


the waters. It is difficult to find his poems anywhere nowadays, 
but, if they can be found, I should think it must be at Winder- 
mere. Consult John Manners anent. 

Southey was a poet, but he could not condense or finish. He 
was gifted with a fatal facility. He was in fact an improvisa- 
tore. And this is strange, because as a prose writer he is almost 
without a rival, and has none superior to him in polish and 
precision. . . . 

BRETBY PARK, Aug. 21. [My letters] are weak, inconsistent, 
incoherent, and, without meaning it, insincere: the reflex of a 
restless, perplexed, hampered, and most unhappy spirit. . . . 
Your sister has thrice, in five days, drawn me aside, to ask if 
anything had happened, I looked so unhappy. . . . x 

To Anne Lady Chesterfield. 

ST. CATHERINE'S, WINDERMERE, Aug. 30. . . . I visited with in- 
terest, the scene of Wordsworth's life and poetry. I shall recur 
to his, perhaps, not hitherto sufficiently appreciated volumes with 
much interest after gazing on the mountains, the woods, and 
waterfalls of Rydal. 

All has gone here, on the whole, pretty well : Selina charming, 
tho' fitful, and my Lord absolutely friendly. 

Whatever happens to me in the world I shall always love you. 

To Lady Bradford. 

BRETBY, Sept. 1. My journey was not very successful, for my 
train was always too late to fit in with Bradshaw, so I had to 
wait an hour at Stafford] and at Lichfield. But after all, this 
is not a mischance that ever much disturbs me: one can always 
think. I got in good time, and they were congratulating me on 
having a quiet dinner (wh. by the bye I wanted), . . . when, lo 
and behold, as we were about to sit down to table, Mr. Scott 2 
in an affected whisper, audible to everybody, and looking very 
pompous, announced a messenger from the foreign office on very 
urgent business. I was obliged to go out; and found matters 
as he described. Had I been at Weston or Windermere I don't 
know whether the secret wd. have been kept exactly, for I have 
told you one or two before this, and I know the Master of the 
Horse to be very discreet; but here things are different. I read 
the despatch, and found it utterly impossible to reply to it off- 
hand : it required, however urgent, much deliberation. So I made 
up my mind to sleep upon it, and send a telegram for the moment. 

* In answer to this letter, it appears that Lady Bradford called 
Disraeli ' a humbug.' 

2 Lady Chesterfield's servant. 


But then I had to telegraph in cypher, and you know what that 
is, from George Paget, who was a whole morning over one line. 
However I managed it at last, and tried to return with a smiling 
and easy mien to my dinner. But, hungry as I was, having 
touched nothing but my St. Catherine's sandwich, and that be- 
fore noon, my appetite was nothing to the ravenous eyes of 
Lady A., 1 who exhausted all her manoeuvres to obtain an inkling 
of what had occurred. 

I had a good dinner all the same, and indulged in some good 
claret, convincing myself it was a wine favorable to judgment: 
then we had a rubber which I lost as usual, and my wits were so 
woolgathering that it was fortunate I did not revoke, as I did 
at Weston. 

I slept very well till five o'ck., when I woke, but with my mind 
quite clear, and what, at night, had seemed difficulties were all 
removed; so I opened my shutters and wrote my despatch in 
pencil in bed. By the time my fire was lit, it was done, and I 
had nothing left to do but to write it in ink with very few altera- 
tions; and the messenger was off by the very earliest train. . . . 

You will say ' Here is much ado about nothing. Who cares for 
his despatches and his telegrams ? ' 

That is true in a certain sense; but everything interests, if 
you are interested in a person. I assure you I like to know 
very much how you are all getting on. You need never want 
matter in writing to me if you will only give me a bulletin of 
the sayings and doings of your circle the one, after all, wh. 
interests me more than any other family in England. . . . 

To Anne Lady Chesterfield. 

[AT BRETBY] Sept. 2. A piece of great social news! Don't 
tell them directly, but make them guess a little. A member of 
the late Government, of high rank, and great wealth, has gone 
over to the Holy Father! 

Who is it? No less a personage than the Marq. of Ripon, 
KG.! ! ! 

Shall not be able to come down to breakfast, as bag very 
heavy, and if I don't work now, I shall not get my walk with 
my dear companion. 

From Bretby Disraeli went for his second and final visit 
to Balmoral, stopping for a week-end with the John Man- 
ners at Birnam on the way. 

i Maria Lady Ailesbury, a friend both of Lady Chesterfield's and of 
Disraeli's, was generally known in society as ' Lady A.' 


To Lady Bradford. 

BALMORAL CASTLE, Sept. 10. . . . The Faery here is more than 
kind ; she opens her heart to me on all subjects, and shows me her 
most secret and most interesting correspondence. She asked me 
here for a week, but she sent to-day to say that she hoped I 
wd. not so limit my visit, and that I would remain at least to 
the end of next week, and so on. . . . 

The Derbys dined here yesterday, and with Princess Beatrice 
and Lady Churchill made up the 8 1 . . . . The Dss. [of Edin- 
burgh] was full of life, 2 asked the Queen at dinner whether she 
had read Lothair. The Queen answered, I thought, with happy 
promptitude, that she was the first person who had read it. Then 
the Duchess asked her Gracious Majesty, whether she did not 
think Theodora a divine character; the Queen looked a little 
perplexed and grave. It wd. have been embarrassing, had the 
Dss. not gone on, rattling away, and begun about Mr. Phoabus 
and the ' two Greek ladies,' saying that for her part she shd. 
like to live in a Greek isle. . . . 

Sept. 12. . . . I have not been well here, and had it not been 
for Sir William Jenner, might have been very ill. All is as- 
cribed to my posting in an open carriage from Dunkeld to Bal- 
moral, but the day was delicious, and I was warmly clothed and 
never apprehended danger. I felt' queer on Wednesday, tho' I 
dined with the Queen on that day. Thursday Sir William kept 
me to my room. I have never left the Castle once. On Friday 
I paid Prince Leopold a visit, who wanted to see me, and, later in 
the day, the Queen sent for me, and I had a very long and most 
interesting audience. She told me that Sir Wm. had reported 
to her that I had no fever, and therefore she had sent for me; 
otherwise she wd. have paid me a visit. She opened all her heart 
and mind to me, and rose immensely in my intellectual estima- 
tion. Free from all shyness, she spoke with great animation 
and happy expression, showed not only perception, but discrimina- 
tion, of character, and was most interesting and amusing. She 
said I looked so well that she thought I cd. dine with her. 

But when Sir William came home from his drive with P. 
Leopold and paid me his afternoon visit, he said the symptoms 
were not at all good ; put me on a mustard poultice on the tipper 
part of my back, gave me some other remedies and said I must 

1 The other four being the Queen, the Duke and Duchess of Edin- 
burgh, and Disraeli. 

2 Writing to Lady Chesterfield, Disraeli described the Duchess at 
dinner on the previous day as ' most lively,' and as breaking through 
' all the etiquette of courtly conversation. Even the Queen joined in 
her vivacity, and evidently is much influenced by her.' 


not think of dining, or of leaving my room. The remedies have 
been most successful; an incipient congestion of the lung seems 
quite removed, and he does not doubt of my being able to travel 
on Tuesday. 

This morning the Queen paid me a visit in my bedchamber. 
What do you think of that ? x 

The G. Duchess 2 is in despair at not seeing me : she is reading 
Froude, and wanted to talk it over with me. The Derbys also 
came to see me to-day. . . . 

You will understand from all this that I am a sort of prisoner 
of state, in the tower of a castle; royal servants come in and 
silently bring me my meals ; a royal physician two or three times 
a day to feel my pulse, etc., and see whether I can possibly endure 
the tortures that await me. I am, in short, the man in the Iron 
Masque. . . . 

To Lord Salisbury. 

BALMORAL CASTLE, Sept. 13. Being here, I attended to your 
business at once. . . . 

Our royal mistress is well, and looks extremely so. She takes 
the greatest interest in the Ripon incident, and is most curious 
to ascertain, who was the artist, who cooked so dainty a dish. 
H.M. believes neither Manning, nor Capel. . . . 

The Ld. Chan [cello] r is only a short distance from me, as the 
crow flies, but a day's journey, from the mountainous ranges. 
He wants to see me before I return to the South, but it is difficult. 

The Derbys seem quite delighted with Abergeldie and its 
birchen groves. Not that the court see much of them ' they are 
so devoted to each other.' . . . 

From Balmoral Disraeli went back, still unwell, to 
Bretby, and there on Saturday, September 19, to use his 
own words, ' fell into the gout, and that very badly.' The 
attack came in time to prevent his committing a great im- 
prudence. Zealous to perform his high duties with effi- 
ciency, and realising the importance to the Prime Minister 
of having some first-hand knowledge of a country which, 
like Ireland, was necessarily so constantly in mind, he had 
proposed to spend part of his first vacation after accepting 
office in a visit to the island. The arrangement was that 

i ' What do you think,' Disraeli wrote to Lady Chesterfield, ' of 
receiving your Sovereign in slippers and a dressing-gown ? ' 

The Duchess of Edinburgh, who was a Russian Grand Duchess. 


he was to arrive in Dublin as the Viceroy's guest on Satur- 
day, October 24, and then visit Killarney, Cork, Waterford, 
Derry, Giant's Causeway, and Belfast, delivering speeches 
in the three capital cities, and only returning to England 
just in time for the autumn Cabinets in the middle of No- 
vember. It was an anxious undertaking for a man in his 
seventieth year, full of gout, and therefore needing rest be- 
tween two arduous sessions instead of a wearisome progress 
of this kind; and the nearer the date aproached, the more 
serious the difficulties appeared. * What am I to speak 
about, as politics are out of the question ? ' he wrote to 
Corry on September 10 from Balmoral. A few days later 
Derby, with sound common sense, wrote to dissuade his 
friend and leader from carrying the mad scheme through. 

From Lord Derby. 

ABERGELDIE, ABERDEEN, Sept. 15, 1874. More I think of your 
Irish tour, less I like it: and for various reasons. 

First you are overdoing yourself. No man can go through 
two years of such work, as yours, leading the H. of C. and all 
the rest of it, without an interval of complete repose. You are 
depriving yourself of yours without any strong reason for so 
doing that I can see: and in the interest of the party and the 
public, I think you are wrong. We ought to be in for 3 or 4 
years, and neither you nor anyone else can keep up the pace at 
which you have started for that length of time. 

Everybody would understand the case and nobody would con- 
sider you as either invalided or indolent if you put off your Irish 
expedition on that ground alone. Indeed a quiet interval is in 
your position almost necessary in order to consider what shall be 
proposed to the Cabinet. When Cabinets begin it is too late 
for any other work than discussion of details. 

But, apart from personal reasons, wbat are you to say to the 
Irish? Every question in Ireland whether of the past, present 
or future, is a party question. It is not in the power of man to 
deal with topics of public interest in such a way as to please 
Ultramontanes and Orangemen. The moderates are few and 
feeble what the press is you know. You must be pressed to do 
local jobs which you must refuse to release political prisoners 
to give fixity of tenure in land and to receive deputations 
suggesting, with the utmost loyalty, some perfectly impracticable 


modification of Home Rule. You cannot be decently civil to 
Catholics without offending Protestants, and vice versa. The 
only point upon which both parties agree is the duty of spending 
more English money on Irish soil. 

Your knowledge will fill up the rough outline which I am draw- 
ing of your difficulties. And why incur them? We are doing 
very well. A moderately extensive programme of well-considered 
measures will satisfy Parliament for next year. There is abso- 
lutely not a cry of any kind that has attracted the least public 
attention of late. The only strong feeling that I can trace in 
the public mind is anti-Catholic feeling: and that you cannot 
gratify and may possibly have to run against in the course of 
an Irish progress. 

Pray excuse unasked advice: though in fact you did partly 
ask for it when we met. If you modify the large programme 
which has been marked out for you, is it not worth considering 
whether the postponement of the whole affair, leaving hopes for 
another year, will not give less offence than the curtailment of 
parts ? 

Derby's reasoning may have shaken Disraeli's purpose; 
in any case the gouty attack at Bretby put the Irish visit 
out of the question. The Queen expressed a hope that he 
might ' some other year be able to go there, when he is quite 
well, for it would do good ' ; but the opportunity never re- 
curred. Consequently Disraeli never set foot in Ireland; 
Gladstone was once there, for three weeks, in October, 1877. 
To those who reflect upon the prolonged contentions of the 
rivals over Irish policy and the dominating hold which 
Ireland obtained over Gladstone's later career, these facts 
must seem incredible, were they not true. 

To Lady Bradford. 

(In pencil.) BRETBY PARK, Monday [Sept. 21]. I am too 
ill to write even to you. A severe attack of gout has been the 
culmination of my trials, and tho' it has removed, or greatly 
mitigated, dangerous symptoms, it adds to my suffering and my 
prostration. The dear angel here is more than kindness, but 
that only makes me more feel what an enormous outrage on her 
hospitality is the whole affair. . . . 

I sit in silence quite unable to read, musing over the wondrous 
12 months that have elapsed since this time last year. I have 


had at least my dream. And if my shattered energies never rally, 
wh. considering that these attacks, more or less, have been going 
on for 6 months, is what I must be prepared for, I have at any 
rate reached the pinnacle of power, and gauged the sweetest and 
deepest affections of 'the heart. Adieu ! 

It was nearly a fortnight before Disraeli was able to be 
moved, and then, after passing through town to consult 
Sir William Gull, he went home to remain quietly at 
Hughenden till the November Cabinets were approaching. 

To Anne Lady Chesterfield. 

HUGHENDEN MANOR, Oct. 23. . . . There is no repose. The 
Court is a department in itself. 

However the Ministry are in great favor. The adieu of the 
Queen, after the Council, to the Duke of Richmond, was ' I wish 
you to remain in as long as you possibly can.' He had quickness 
eno' to reply ' That is exactly, Madam, what I and my colleagues 
intend to do.' 

This letter really must be for your own eye and ear. . . . 

To Lady Bradford. 

HUGHENDEN MANOR, Oct. 26. . . . I like him [M. Corry] 
very much, better than any man : but, as a rule and except upon 
business, male society is not much to my taste. Indeed I want 
to see only one person, whom I never see, and I want to see her 
always. Otherwise I would rather be alone. Solitude has no 
terrors for me, and when I am well, has many delights. But one 
can't be always reading and thinking; one wants sympathy, and 
the inspiration of the heart. . . . 

I have not seen Chas. Greville's book, but have read a good deal 
of it. It is a social outrage. And committed by one who was 
always talking of what he called 'perfect gentlemen.' I don't 
think he can figure now in that category. I knew him intimately. 
He was the vainest being I don't limit myself to man that 
ever existed ; and I don't forget Cicero and Lytton Bulwer x ; but 
Greville wd. swallow garbage, and required it. Offended selflove 
is a key to most of his observations. He lent me a volume of his 
MS. once to read; more modern than these; I found, when he 
was not scandalous, he was prolix and prosy a clumsy, wordy 
writer. The loan was made a propos of the character of Peel, 

i In the corresponding letter of the same date to Lady Chesterfield 
this phrase takes the more clear-cut form : ' I have read Cicero, and 
was intimate with Lytton Bulwer,' 


which I drew in George Bentinck's Life, and which, I will pre- 
sume to say, tho' you may think me as vain as Greville for say- 
ing so, is the only thing written about Peel wh. has any truth or 
stuff in it. Greville was not displeased with it, and as a reward, 
and a treat, told me that he wd. confide to me his character of 
Peel, and he gave me the sacred volume, wh. I bore with me, 
with trembling awe, from Bruton St. to Gros[veno]r Gate. If 
ever it appears, you, who have taste for style and expression, 
will, I am sure, agree with me that, as a portrait painter, Gre- 
ville is not a literary Vandyke or Reynolds : a more verbose, in- 
definite, unwieldy affair, without a happy expression, never issued 
from the pen of a fagged subordinate of the daily press. 1 

With regard to myself, what I am suffering from is not gout, 
but incipient affection in my throat, tho' I doubt not real gout is 
at the bottom of it all. I have more confidence in Leggatt than 
the other gentlemen you mention. L. says I ought to go to Bux- 
ton, or at least to the sea, and so on, and not live, as I am doing, 
among decomposing woods. That is very true, and I have gen- 
erally managed to avoid the fall of the leaf. But the total absence 
of all comfort or comforts, that one encounters at an hotel, 
countervails the happier atmosphere. One must be at home; and 
I am going to town, where I am not surrounded by mighty beeches 
brown with impending fate, and limes of amber light, and chest- 
nuts of green and gold and every now and then an awful sou'- 
wester that brings, in whirling myriads, their beauties to the 

In the meantime, I am like Crusoe on his isle, taking infinite 
delight in many silent companions. My mittens are a ceaseless 
charm. I fear they will wear out sooner than you expected, for 
they are never off my hands. They keep the hand warm and yet 
free. My aneroid is at my side at this moment ; not on my dress- 
ing-table, as originally projected, but my writing-table. I man- 
age it now with the same facility, as Herschel or Ld. Rosse did 
their colossal telescopes. If, in my loneliness, one is tempted 
sometimes to feel or fancy that some characters and things we 
remember are merely a dream, my pencil case in my waistcoat 
pocket proves their reality, and if I still doubted, something is 
singing, all day long, which is called ' Selina.' 2 

1 Greville's character of Peel appears in Part II., Vol. III., ch. 31, 
of the Memoirs: Disraeli's character of Peel appears in Lord Oeorge 
Bentinck, ch. 17, and is quoted in Vol. II., ch. 11, of this biography. 
The loan of part of Greville's MS. to Disraeli is mentioned in Memoirs, 
Part II., Vol. III., ch. 32. 

2 The mittens, aneroid, pencil case, and singing bird were, of course, 
all presents from Lady Bradford. 


Disraeli's verdict on the Greville Memoirs was endorsed 
with great vigour from Balmoral. It is not surprising that 
the Queen should have been horrified at the relentless ex- 
posure of the vices and foibles of her royal uncles contained 
in the first part, which was all that was published in 1874. 
But Reeve, the editor, was quite impenitent under royal and 
Ministerial displeasure. Sir Arthur Helps, Disraeli told 
Lady Bradford, read to Reeve some passages of a letter 
from the Queen. ' The Queen said, " the book degraded 
royalty." " Not at all," rejoined Reeve, " it elevates it, 
by the contrast it offers between the present and the defunct 
state of affairs," and so on, fighting every point with smiling 
impudence ! ' 

From Queen Victoria. 

BALMORAL, Nov. 12, 1 '74. The Queen thanks Mr. Disraeli for 
his letters received to-day. She hopes that he is quite well and 

f taking care of himself. But she would strongly advise him not 
to accustom himself to very hot rooms, for nothing gives people 

I more cold than sitting over a large fire and then going out. 

The Queen omitted in her last letter saying how horrified and 
indignant she is at this dreadful and really scandalous book of 
Mr. C. Greville's, who seems to have put down all the gossip which 
>he collected and which, as we well know from the experience of 
the present day, is totally unreliable. His indiscretion, indeli- 
cacy, ingratitude towards friends, betrayal of confidence and 
shameful disloyalty towards his Sovereign make it very important 
that the book should be severely censured and discredited. The 
tone in which he speaks of royalty, is unlike anything which one 
sees in history even, of people hundreds of years ago, and is 
most reprehensible. 

Mr. Keeve however is almost as much to blame considering that 
he is a servant of the Crown and ought never to have consented 
to publish such an abominable book. 

To Queen Victoria. 

WHITEHALL GARDENS, Nov. 10, 1 1874. Mr. Disraeli with his 
humble duty to your Majesty : 

He thinks your Majesty's critique on the Greville publication, 
ought to be printed. It condenses the whole case no, not the 

i There must be some mistake in the dates of these letters. The 
second is clearly the answer to the first. 


whole ' indiscretion, indelicacy, ingratitude.' The book is a 
social outrage, but what is most flagrant is, that it should be 
prepared, and published, by two servants of the Crown! 

Mr. Disraeli has been revolving in his mind, how some public 
reprobation of such conduct could be manifested. For this pur- 
pose he has wanted to confer with various people and, un- 
happily, he has never been able to leave his house since he arrived 
in town, so he has not been able to go to clubs, or talk with men, 
who, as Dr. Johnson used to describe them, are ' clubable.' . . . 

Mr. Disraeli humbly thanks your Majesty for your Majesty's 
ever gracious interest in his health. 

He assures your Majesty he endeavors to obey all your Ma- 
jesty's commands in this respect. He never sits over a fire, and 
he has a thermometer in every room, with instructions never to 
exceed 63. He fears he is suffering from a gouty habit, wjiich 
has broken out late in life, but which, now understood, may be 
conquered with care and diet. 

What details for a servant of the Crown to place before a 
too gracious mistress! His cheek burns with shame. It seems 
almost to amount to petty treason. 

Disraeli had a further attack of gout in Whitehall Gar- 
dens in the early part of November, and it was with con- 
siderable difficulty that he managed to appear at the Guild- 
hall banquet and to hold the autumn Cabinets. At Guild- 
hall he vindicated, against Gladstone's scepticism, the exist- 
ence and indeed inevitability of the Conservative working 

I have been alarmed recently by learning, from what I suppose 
is the highest Liberal authority, that a Conservative Government 
cannot endure, because it has been returned by Conservative work- 
ing men, and a Conservative working man is an anomaly. We 
have been told that a working man cannot be Conservative, be- 
cause he has nothing to conserve he has neither land nor capi- 
tal ; as if there were not other things in the world as precious as 
land and capital ! . . . There are things in my opinion even more 
precious than land and capital, and without which land and cap- 
ital themselves would be of little worth. What, for instance is 
land without liberty? And what is capital without justice? 
The working classes of this country have inherited personal rights 
which the nobility of other nations do not yet possess. Their 
persons and their homes are sacred. They have no fear of arbi- 


trary arrests or domiciliary visits. 1 They know that the ad- 
ministration of law in this country is pure, and that it is no 
respecter of individuals or classes. They know very well that 
their industry is unfettered, and that by the law of this country 
they may combine to protect the interests of labour ; and they 
know that though it is open to all of them to serve their Sovereign 
by land or sea, no one can be dragged from his craft or his 
hearth to enter a military service which is repugnant to him. 
Surely these are privileges worthy of being preserved ! Can we 
therefore be surprised that a nation which possesses such rights 
should wish to preserve them? And if that be the case, is it 
wonderful that working classes are Conservative? 

The exertion of holding the Cabinets was too much for 
Disraeli, and in the end of November he had another attack, 
almost as severe as that which had prostrated him at Bretby. 

To Lady Bradford. 

2, WHITEHALL GARDENS, Nov. 23. . . . I called in Jenner on 
Saturday, suffering much in my chest, I believe from the fogs, 
wh. have been very bad here. He insisted on Bournemouth, but 
I had intended first to pay a little visit to you all, wh. wd. have 
been a consolation in my loneliness; but last night attacked by 
gout in my right foot, and cannot move. 

If you write to me sometimes, when you have time or inclina- 
tion, I shall be grateful : but I do not press it or expect it 
hardly think it reasonable to wish it. I can make no return. 
Long suffering for this has gone on more or less for many 
months and exhaustion, and some chagrin of the heart, have 
done their work on me. Our correspondence has always been 
so essentially spontaneous, that I do not wish it to degenerate 
into forced sentences or the bulletins of an invalid, which, I 
know, you do not like, and there we resemble each other. I can- 
not write; all my spring is gone. . . . 

(In pencil.) Dec. 1. Amid my daily reveries and nightly 
dreams, it seemed to me I had only one purpose to write to 
you, and try to convey to you some conclusions, at wh. I had 

i It was suggested that Disraeli was indirectly reflecting upon Bis- 
marck, who was employing methods of this kind in his quarrel with 
Count Arnim, German Ambassador in Paris. Disraeli thought it 
worth while to disclaim this interpretation by a communiqu6 in The 
Times : whereupon he was absurdly accused by the Liberals of subservi- 
ency to Bismarck. ' No man in his senses,' wrote Delane to Corry, 
' will blame the Premier for removing a cause for irritation he had not 
intended to excite.' 


arrived, as to this strange illness, wh. has harassed me, more or 
less, for nine months, and now has reached its climax. But when 
I take up my pencil (your pencil), my mind deserts me, and I 
am utterly incapable of expressing thought or feeling when, only 
a moment before, the thoughts seemed so deep, and the feelings 
so just and vivid. 

But I can be silent no more, if I write only to thank you for 
your letters. They have always had for me an ineffable charm; 
being both gay and affectionate, like yr. own happy disposition. 

Mine have been different: unreasonable, morose, exacting, dis- 
contented. I feel all this now. I will not defend them. I wd. 
rather leave their vindication to your seraphic idiosyncrasy. 

What is exactly to become of me, I don't know. Whether I 
can rally must be doubtful. To get out of this repaire is a ne- 
cessity, but how I can bear travelling for hours when writing 
this makes me fall back exhausted on my pillows, I cannot com- 

After this last attack Disraeli went, on the recommenda- 
tion of the Queen as well as of his physicians, to try what 
Her Majesty called ' the very salubrious air of Bourne- 
mouth ' for the midwinter weeks. The physicians declared 
that the sea-air would gradually ' burn the gout poison ' 
out of his blood. Unfortunately, it was a particularly bit- 
ter season. ' How damnable/ wrote Corry on December 
19, ' that we should be having the most inclement winter of 
the decade ! ' ' The cold is intense here,' Disraeli replied : 
t deep snow, and I can't get my rooms up to 60.' Never- 
theless the change was successful. He was decidedly better 
when he left Bournemouth early in January for Crichel; 
and he was able to tell Rose on January 15 : 'I am pretty 
well; not quite; but much better than I was any day last 

To Queen Victoria. 

B-MOUTH, Dec. 10, 1874. Mr. Disraeli with his humble duty to 
your Majesty: 

He cannot refrain from thanking your Majesty for your gra- 
cious inquiries as to his health. 

It is difficult to decide on atmospherical influences under a 
week, but he thinks he can venture to say, that the visit to this 
place, which your Majesty yourself deigned to recommend, will 
turn out a great success. 


The weather has been too variable; one day it was like the 
Corniche, so soft and sunny, the Isle of Wight looming, and yet 
not distant, and the waters glittering in the bay-like coast. But 
storm has prevailed, and nothing but the bending pines could 
have withstood its violence. Mr. Disraeli is on the cliff, which 
is a great advantage to him. 

He has received the Prince's Life, 1 which he is reading with 
much interest, particularly as it reaches a period, when he him- 
self began to take some part in public affairs. Much of the 
earlier part he was familiar with from General Grey's volume. 
This, however, will be all fresh to the public, and Mr. Disraeli 
has no doubt the work will produce a deep, a pleasing, and an 
enduring impression. . . . 

Dec. IS, 1874. . . . He began the Life towards the end, being 
interested in the new matter; then he turned to other parts to 
compare the different treatment in the present, and in the volume 
compiled by General Grey. Then he got so interested in the 
treatment of the subject, that he began the work regularly from 
the beginning, and he can truly say, that it is a most able book, 
and one that will endure. There is in the general treatment of 
the theme an amenity worthy of the subject. Your Majesty most 
truly and justly observes, that the contrast between Mr. Martin's 
volume and a too notorious publication is striking; but it is 
also beneficial. This book will rally the public tone. After the 
turbulent and callous malignity of the Greville Memoirs, one 
feels as if an angel had passed through the chamber. He may be 
invisible, but one feels, as it were, the rustling of his wings. 

To Lady Bradford. 

2, WHITEHALL GARDENS, Jan. 30, 1875. . . . I am going to 
Hughenden to-day with Monty; and on Tuesday I am going 
to Osborne, and to stay there till the Council is held on the 4th. 
The Alberta is to be placed at my disposal, wh. can go alongside 
the pier, so I am not to get into an open boat, and there is a 
cabin closed in on deck, where I am to sit during the pas- 

Mr. Corry is to accompany me, and I am forbidden to make 
any change in my usual evening costume, as it might give me 

Everything is to be made comfortable for me, and it is hoped 
I may stay for two days, in order that I may rest, and, having 
the Alberta, I may choose my own time. 

What do you think of this? And when will you be so kind 

1 Sir Theodore Martin's Life of the Prince Consort. 


to me? Fancy Monty a recognised courtier! The first private 
secretary whose existence has been acknowledged by royal lips. . . . 

It was while he was at Bournemouth that Disraeli com- 
pleted the arrangement for one of the most picturesque 
features of his first year of office the offer to Thomas 
Carlyle of the G.C.B. and a pension. He had been cor- 
responding with Derby in the autumn as to what could be 
done to honour men of science. ' I wish/ he wrote on 
October 9, * we had some comprehensive order like the 
Legion of Honor. I am sorry that society perists in cheap- 
ening a simple knighthood. It satisfied Sir Isaac Newton 
and Sir Walter Raleigh. Would it satisfy Stokes ? ' x The 
Government gratified the scientific world by promoting the 
Arctic Expedition under Sir George Nares. ' Can we do 
anything for Literature?' wrote Derby on November 28. 
He suggested that Tennyson and Carlyle were the only 
conspicuous names; and in pressing Carlyle's claims men- 
tioned that he was, ' for whatever reason, most vehement 
against Gladstone. . . . Anything that could be done for 
him would be a really good political investment. What it 
should be you know best.' Disraeli caught at the idea ; he 
realised the splendour of Carlyle's genius and the reproach 
of its total neglect by the State; and his imagination sup- 
plied the unique distinction 2 which might not unfitly be 
offered to the doyen of English letters. 

To Queen Victoria. 

B-MOUTH, Dec. 12, 1874. Mr. Disraeli with his humble duty 
to your Majesty : 

As your Majesty was graciously pleased to say, that your 
Majesty would sometimes aid him with your advice, he pre- 
sumes to lay before your Majesty a subject on which he should 
much like to be favored with your Majesty's judgment. 

Your Majesty's Government is now in favor with the scientific 
world. The Arctic Expedition, and some small grants which may 

1 Professor George Gabriel Stokes, the mathematician and physicist, 
1819-1903. He was created a baronet in 1889. 

2 The Order of Merit was not founded until the Coronation of King 
Edward VII. 


be made to their favorite institutions, will secure their sympathy, 
which is not to be despised. 

Can nothing be done for Literature? 

Eminent literary men are so few, that there would be no 
trouble as to choice, if any compliment in the way of honor was 
contemplate. Mr. Disraeli knows only two authors, who are es- 
pecially conspicuous at this moment : Tennyson, and Carlyle. He 
has no personal knowledge of either, and their political views are, 
he apprehends, opposed to those of your Majesty's Government, 
but that is not to be considered for a moment. 

He has an impression, that Mr. Tennyson could sustain a 
baronetcy, and would like it. Sir Robert Peel offered that dis- 
tinction to Southey. 

Mr. Carlyle is old, and childless, and poor ; but he is very popu- 
lar and respected by the nation. There is no K.C.E. vacant. 
Would a G.C.B. be too much? It might be combined with a 
pension, perhaps, not less than your Majesty's royal grandfather 
conferred on Dr. Johnson, and which that great man cheerfully 
accepted, and much enjoyed. 

These thoughts are humbly submitted to the consideration of 
your Majesty, with, Mr. Disraeli hopes, not too much freedom. 

The Queen, in Disraeli's words, ' entered into the spirit 
of the affair ' ; and lie conveyed the offer to Carlyle in a let- 
ter conceived in the grand manner, to the composition of 
which, it is evident from the interlined draft found among 
his papers, he had devoted considerable labour. As a prof- 
fer of State recognition by a literary man in power to a 
literary man in (so to speak) permanent opposition, it 
would be difficult to excel it either in delicacy or in dignity. 
Fully to appreciate its magnanimity, it must be remembered 
that Carlyle had always treated Disraeli as a ( conscious 
juggler,' ' a superlative Hebrew conjurer.' ( He is the only 
man,' Carlyle wrote to John Carlyle, ' I almost never spoke 
of except with contempt; and if there is anything of scur- 
rility anywhere chargeable against me, he is the subject 
of it ; and yet see, here he comes with a pan of hot coals for 
my guilty head.' 

To Thomas Carlyle. 

Confidential. BOURNEMOUTH, Dec. 27, 1874. A Government 
should recognise intellect. It elevates and sustains the tone of a 


nation. But it is an office which, adequately to fulfil, requires 
both courage and discrimination, as there is a chance of falling 
into favoritism and patronising mediocrity, which, instead of 
elevating the national feeling, would eventually degrade and de- 
base it. 

In recommending Her Majesty to fit out an Arctic expedition, 
and in suggesting other measures of that class, her Government 
have shown their sympathy with science. I wish that the po- 
sition of high letters should be equally acknowledged; but this 
is not so easy, because it is in the necessity of things that the 
test of merit cannot be so precise in literature as in science. 

When I consider the literary world, I see only two living names 
which, I would fain believe, will be remembered; and they stand 
out in uncontested superiority. One is that of a poet; if not a 
great poet, a real one ; and the other is your own. 

I have advised the Queen to offer to confer a baronetcy on 
Mr. Tennyson, and the same distinction should be at your com- 
mand, if you liked it. But I have remembered that, like myself, 
you are childless, and may not care for hereditary honours. I 
have therefore made up my mind, if agreeable to yourself, to rec- 
ommend Her Majesty to confer on you the highest distinction for 
merit at her command, and which, I believe, has never yet been 
conferred by her except for direct services to the State. And 
that is the Grand Cross of the Bath. 

I will speak with frankness on another point. It is not well 
that, in the sunset of life, you should be disturbed by common 
cares. I see no reason why a great author should not receive 
from the nation a pension as well as a lawyer and a statesman. 
Unfortunately the personal power of Her Majesty in this respect 
is limited; but still it is in the Queen's capacity to settle on an 
individual an amount equal to a good fellowship, and which was 
cheerfully accepted and enjoyed by the great spirit of Johnson, 
and the pure integrity of Southey. 

Have the goodness to let me know your feelings on these 

The letter to Tennyson reproduced the phraseology of 
the early portion of that to Carlyle, though it naturally 
did not draw a distinction between a ' real ' poet and a 
* great ' one. Both authors refused. Tennyson had had 
a similar offer from Gladstone nearly a year before, and 
explained to both Prime Ministers in succession that he 
could not accept a baronetcy for himself, but would be grate- 


fill if such an honour could be secured for his son. Nine 
years later the poet was raised to the peerage on Gladstone's 
recommendation. Carlyle's answer was reported to Derby 
by Disraeli. 

To Lord Derby. 

B-MOUTH, Jan. 1, '75. . . . Alas! the Philosopher of Chelsea, 
tho' evidently delighted with the proposal, and grateful in won- 
drous sentences, will accept of nothing ' Titles of honor, of all 
degrees, are out of keeping with the tenor of my poor life,' and 
as for money ' after years of rigorous and frugal, but, thank 
God, never degrading poverty,' it has become ' amply abundant, 
even super-abundant in this later time.' 

Nevertheless the proposal is ' magnanimous and noble, with- 
out example in the history of governing persons with men of 
letters ' and a great deal more in the same highly-sublimated 
Teutonic vein. 

I have not received any reply from Tennyson, but this is a 
secondary affair. 

I think of getting away from this on the 4th and shall stay a 
week at Crichel and then to Westminster. Northcote is with 
me for a day or two, preparing for the Cabinets; and the Ld. 
Chan [cello] r is a great assistance to me. . . . 

For the moment Carlyle recognised that he had misjudged 
Disraeli. Lady Derby, whom Carlyle credited, perhaps 
rightly, with the origination of the idea, wrote to Disraeli 
on January 15 : 'I saw old Mr. Carlyle to-day, and he 
scarcely knew how to be grateful enough for the mark of 
attention you had paid him. I assure you it was quite 
touching to see and hear his high appreciation of the offer.' 
But, save that he continued to prefer Disraeli to Gladstone, 
the feeling was transient; and when, a few years later, he 
dissented from Ministerial policy in the East, he reverted 
once again to his earlier language, and was not ashamed to 
talk of the Prime Minister as ' a cursed old Jew, not worth 
his weight in cold bacon,' l ' an accursed being, the worst 
man who ever lived.' 2 

1 Life of James Macdonell, p. 379. 

2 Some Hawarden Letters, p. 15. 



The main Government programme of Social Reform was 
definitely entered upon in the second session of the Par- 
liament. l In legislation/ wrote Disraeli to Hicks Beach 
in December, 1874, l it is not merely reason and propriety 
which are to be considered, but the temper of the time.' 
The time was propitious. Though there were disquieting 
symptoms underlying the situation abroad, the surface was 
undisturbed, and there was no immediate reason to antici- 
pate any foreign complication ; while at home the defeated 
Opposition showed as yet no sign of cohesion or recovery. 
Social improvement and not revolutionary change was what 
people demanded ; and, to give effect to this desire, Labour 
members, Alexander Macdonald and Thomas Burt, the fore- 
runners of a mighty political force, had been returned for 
the first time to Parliament. The general tendency of the 
projected legislation was settled, on Disraeli's initiative, 
early in the history of the Government ; and as the autumn 
Cabinets of 1874 approached, the Prime Minister asked his 
principal colleagues for further suggestions. The letter 
which he wrote to Salisbury is typical. 

To Lord Salisbury. 

HUGHENDEN MANOR, Oct. 12, 1874. I hardly know, whether 
you have left your chateau sur la Manege 1 but doubt not this 
will reach you, somehow or other. 

In about a month we ought to commence our November 
Cabinets. It would be of great service to me, and very agree- 
able also, if you would favor me, some time previously, and con- 

1 Salisbury had a villa at Dieppe, where he spent the autumn. 



fidentially, with your general views as to our situation, and any 
suggestion you can make as to our future course. 

I saw the French Ambassador, 1 as I passed thro' town an 
intimate acquaintance, and more, of forty years. He is, as you 
know, experienced in English politics. He said, ' In your in- 
ternal situation, I do not see a single difficulty.' I trust he is 

The position of affairs in Ireland must, however, demand our 
attention. The group of laws, called the Coercion Acts, are on 
the eve of expiring but we could scarcely arrive at a definite 
resolution on the subject until the meeting of Parliament. 

Is there any question connected with home affairs that occurs 
to you, wh. has not been touched on in our councils? I believe, 
that Mr. Secy. X 2 is working at a Dwellings Bill. . . . 

The Cabinets were very harmonious, the only measure, 
a remanet from the past session, which might have caused 
friction being judiciously shelved in a manner which showed 
that Salisbury bore no lasting grudge against either chief 
or colleagues. 

To Queen Victoria. 

2, WHITEHALL GARDENS, Nov. 12, 1874. Mr. Disraeli with his 
humble duty to your Majesty: 

The Cabinet met to-day, and sate two hours, and did a great 
deal of work, and all satisfactory. 

In the first place, not in order, but in importance, the question 
of the endowed schools was brought forward, so that there might 
be no future misconception on the subject. 

Lord Salisbury spoke with much moderation and said, that 
he would be satisfied with a compromise, which Mr. Hardy had 
suggested in the Cabinet at the end of the session. This was 
conciliatory, but not satisfactory to those, who deprecated any 
further legislation at all. 

To our great surprise and relief, Mr. Hardy said that he 
thought it, on the whole, best, not to take any further action in 
the matter, particularly as there was a new Commission, whose 
views we ought to become acquainted with. 

The Lord Chancellor strongly supported Mr. Hardy, and, no 
one then speaking, Lord Salisbury said, that neither in this, nor 
any subject, did he wish to urge his views against a majority of 

i The Comte de Jarnac. See Vol. III., p. 172. 
2 R. A. Cross, the Home Secretary. 


From a portrait at Hv.';hr>ulrn. 


the Cabinet, and one apparently unanimous. He was prepared, 
therefore, to do nothing. 

Upon which Lord Derby exclaimed ' Thank God, we have got 
rid of the only rock a-head ! ' . . . 

Nov. 15. . . . The Cabinet was engaged yesterday in con- 
sidering the measure for the Improvement of the Dwellings of 
the People. This is likely to be a very popular and beneficial 
measure, but will require great care. Your Majesty's Ministers 
must be cautious not to embark in any building speculation : 
but nothing of this kind is contemplated. This, and some other 
measures completing the code of sanitary legislation, took up the 
whole sitting. . . . 

These meetings have been eminently satisfactory : unanimous 
and friendly, and never the slightest indication of there being 
two parties in the Cabinet. 

The path of the Government was still further smoothed, 
as the session approached, by Gladstone's definite retirement 
from the Opposition leadership, and the choice in his place, 
as leader of the Liberal party in the House of Commons, of 
a politician of weight and judgment rather than of ag- 
gressive force Lord Hartington, the heir of the Whig 
house of Cavendish. Disraeli told Lady Chesterfield, ' the 
new joke about the Whigs. . . . You know Ld. Derby, 
pere, said the Whigs were dished; they say now they are 

To Lady Bradford. 

2, WHITEHALL GARDENS, Feb. 2. . . . The political world was 
never more amusing: I am glad that Harty-Tarty has won the 
day. Never was a party in such a position, and, tho' I never would 
confess it to anybody but yourself, never was a man in a prouder 
position than myself. It never happened before, and is not 
likely to happen again. Only those who are acquainted with the 
malignity of Glad [stone] to me thro' a rivalry of 5 and 20 years, 
can understand this. . . . 

To Queen Victoria. 

2, WHITEHALL GARDENS, Feb. 5, 1875, Friday night. Mr. Dis- 
raeli with his humble duty to your Majesty: 

The House of Commons reassembled to-day, in unusual num- 
bers, the benches on both sides being thronged. 


Lord Hartington took his seat at the last moment; ^2 past 
four ; and was cheered by both sides. Mr. Forster x and your 
Majesty's humble correspondent were also received by their friends 
with great cordiality. 

The Address was moved by Hon. Edward Stanhope in a speech 
of striking ability. Instead of a mechanical comment on each 
paragraph of the Royal Speech, Mr. Stanhope generalised on two 
great subjects, your Majesty's Colonial Empire, and the Health 
of your People. He produced a great effect. He commenced 
by an allusion to the illness of H.R.H. Prince Leopold, and to 
your Majesty's anxiety, than which few things could be more 
graceful and felicitous. 

The Member for Glasgow, who seconded the Address, unfor- 
tunately spoke in the language of his country, and, so, soon lost 
the House; but all his observations were sensible and acute, and 
worthy of a descendant of Bailie Nicol Jarvie. The new houses 
in Glasgow for the artisans, and the polluted state of the famous 
Clyde, gave him a becoming position in the business of the eve- 

Lord Hartington, well-prepared and thoughtful, made a reputa- 
ble appearance, and the general impression on both sides was 
favorable to the effort. 

Mr. Disraeli closed the debate, as no one would rise, though 
there had been rumors that Mr. Fitzgerald was about to call the 
consideration of the House to the contemplated invasion of 
Holland by Prince Bismarck. The House was in good spirits 
and good temper, and there seems the prospect of an active, but 
serene session. 

Writing to Lady Chesterfield, Disraeli described Harting- 
ton's debut as leader more familiarly. l Harty-Tarty did 
very well ; exactly as I expected he would ; sensible, dullish 
and gentlemanlike. Lowe said, " At last I have heard a 
proper leader's speech; all good sense, and no earnest non- 

In the favourable atmosphere thus created, the Minis- 
terial programme of social legislation was auspiciously 
launched. Sanitas sanitatum, omnia sanitas had been Dis- 
raeli's watchword. * A policy of sewage,' the Liberals 

i W. E. Forster, afterwards Chief Secretary for Ireland, had refused 
to let his name be submitted in competition with Hartington's for the 
Liberal leadership. 


had sniffed in reply. Even if limited to sewage, such a 
policy was praiseworthy ; but, as Disraeli pointed out at the 
close of the session, sanitary reform, ' that phrase so little 
understood,' included 'most of the civilising influences of 
humanity.' Disraeli had given the artisans the vote in 
1867. Gladstone had prevailed on them to use it in ef- 
fecting great political changes in the institutions of the 
country, and particularly of Ireland. What they really 
wanted, in Disraeli's opinion, and what in the General 
Election of 1874 they set themselves to obtain, were better, 
healthier, more humanising conditions in their own daily 
life. They wanted sanitary and commodious homes ; they 
wanted regulation of their occupations so as to minimise 
risk to life and health and to prevent excessive toil for their 
women and children; they wanted freedom of contract and 
equality before the law with their employers; they wanted 
encouragement and security for their savings ; they wanted 
easy access to light and air and all the beneficent influences 
of nature. These were their principal wants in the sphere 
of material sanitation ; but they had no less need of what 
may perhaps be called mental and spiritual sanitation 
a sphere which Disraeli was little likely to overlook ; they 
wanted the provision of sound education and the enlarge- 
ment of religious opportunity. 

With one conspicuous exception, these direct and ob- 
vious needs of the working population had been neglected 
bx_the_Liberals, still dominated as a party by the doctrines 
of laisser faire. Elementary education, indeed, they had 
taken comprehensively in hand ; but Forster's great Bill 
would never have passed into law, in view of the bitter 
hostility of Radicals and Dissenters, had it not received the 
general support of Disraeli and the Conservatives. The 
other working-class problem which Gladstone's Ministry 
had touched, that of the relations between employers and 
workmen, they had conspicuously failed to solve. In one 
single session, 1875, Disraeli and his colleagues vigorously 
attacked the ' condition of the people ' question in three 


main branches, housing, savings, and relations of master 
and man, effecting in each case a striking improvement in 
the law; and there was none of the working-class needs 
enumerated above that was not to a large extent supplied 
before the Tory Government were expelled from office. 

The Minister chiefly responsible for this social legisla- 
tion was the Home Secretary, Richard Cross, the shrewd 
Lancashire lawyer and man of business who frequently 
figures in Disraeli's correspondence as ' Mr. Secy. X ' ; 
and, after him, N"orthcote, the Chancellor of the Exchequer. 
The homes of the poor were dealt with first of all ; and an 
entirely new departure was made in the Artisans' Dwellings 
Bill, which for the first time called in public authorities to 
remedy the defects of private dwelling-houses. By its 
provisions local authorities in large towns were empowered 
to remove existing buildings for sanitary reasons and re- 
place them by others, the new buildings to be devoted to 
the use of artisans. True to his rigid economic doctrine, 
the eminent Radical, Fawcett, scoffed at the proposal ; and 
asked why Parliament should facilitate the housing of 
working men and not that of dukes? But the artisans 
themselves and the public at large welcomed this honest 
attempt to deal with the rookeries which disgraced our 
urban civilisation, and which made decent life almost im- 
possible for those who dwelt in them. When excessive de- 
mands for compensation impeded the working of the scheme, 
the Government passed in 18Y9 an Amending Bill providing 
that, if overcrowding had created a nuisance, compensation 
should be fixed on the value of the house after abatement 
of the nuisance, so that grasping and callous owners should 
not profit by their misdeeds. 

Savings were promoted and secured by a Friendly So- 
cieties Bill, in Northcote's charge. This struck a mean 
between the extremes of too great State interference and of 
insufficient protection. It left the Societies a wide measure 
of self-management, but insured the adoption of sound 
rules, effective audit, and rates of payment sufficient to 


maintain solvency. It established the Friendly Societies, 
and with them the people's savings, on a satisfactory basis. 

But the most important legislation of the session dealt 
with the relation of master and man. Hitherto the work- 
man had been severely handicapped in his contentions with 
his employer about wages and conditions of service by two 
rules of law coming down from a state of society ante- 
cedent to the industrial epoch. In the first place, breach 
of contract by the workman was regarded, and punished, 
as a criminal offence, while the employer in a like case was 
only liable in the civil courts; and, in the second place, 
the doctrine of ' conspiracy ' among workmen was applied 
in such a way as to cover the normal actions of trade unions, 
and to bring their promoters within reach of the criminal 
law. By two Bills which Cross introduced, in pursuance 
of the report of the Royal Commission of the previous year, 
both these wrongs were righted. The one made employers 
and workmen equal before the law as regards labour con- 
tracts, constituting breach of contract merely a civil of- 
fence on the part of a workman as it had always been on 
the part of an employer. The other made ' conspiracy ' 
as applied to trade disputes no longer a crime, except when 
it was for the purpose of committing what would be a 
crime if done by one person. These two Acts, said a Trade 
Union Manual of Labour Laws of the day, were the charter 
of the social and industrial freedom of the working classes ; 
and the Labour member, Alexander Macdonald, in the 
House, and the Labour Congress formally in the autumn, 
thanked the Government warmly for passing them. 

The Acts which have been already described were by no 
means the whole crop garnered by the Government in this 
fertile session of constructive social legislation. The in- 
terests of agricultural tenants were not forgotten, but Dis- 
raeli himself piloted a Bill through the House of Commons 
by which the tenant obtained compensation for unexhausted 
improvements, a presumption of law being created in his 
favour, while at the same time freedom of contract between 


landlord and tenant was preserved. Moreover, the protec- 
tion of merchant seamen from the dangers of unseaworthy 
ships was undertaken in circumstances to which we shall 
recur. Finally, Cross in this same session consolidated 
and improved the whole sanitary code in the Public Health 
Act the foundation on which all subsequent amendment 
in detail has been built. 

After 1875 there was never again, during the lifetime of 
the -Government, a session untroubled by serious foreign or 
imperial complications ; but, though the pace was necessarily 
slower, steady progress was made throughout with social 
reform. The greatest and most important work of all was 
to put the coping-stone on that edifice of factory legislation 
which Shaftesbury had gradually reared, with the steady 
support of Disraeli and of l Young England,' in the teeth 
of the bitter opposition of Bright and the Manchester 
school. In their very first session, 1874, the Government 
had remedied the wrong done in 1850, when the ten hours' 
day which Parliament had decreed in 1847 for women 
and children was for administrative reasons enlarged, in 
face of strong opposition by Disraeli and John Manners, 
to a ten-and-a-half hours' day. 1 Fifty-six hours a week, i/ 
or ten hours on five week-days and six on Saturday, was 
the total allowed by the Act of 1874; and even this modi- 
fication was opposed by the individualist Fawcett, and, in 
the division lobby, by 79 Liberals. Then in 1878 the whole 
intricate series of factory laws were brought under review, 
improved, and codified by a Consolidation Act, of which 
Shaftesbury spoke in the Lords with unbounded satisfaction. 
He said that he was lost in wonder at the amount of toil, 
of close investigation, and of perseverance involved in its 
preparation; two millions of people in this country would 
bless the day when Cross was appointed Home Secretary, 
were the Factory Acts the only measures passed by 
this Government ameliorating the circumstances of labour. 
Hosiery manufacture was brought under the Truck Acts 
i See Vol. III., p. 254. 


' in 1874; provision for inspecting and regulating canal 
J boats was made in 1877; and in 1876 permanent and hu- 
>N/ mane conditions were laid down for merchant shipping. 

In these ways the Government effected a notable improve- 
ment in the conditions of labour; but it was on the old 
lines of Shaftesbury's movement. In another field they 
broke new ground. They reversed the old policy of the 
Enclosure Acts, which encouraged the conversion of com- 
mon land into private and therefore presumably productive 
occupation ; and, in view of the rapid development of the 
urban population and the necessity of securing for it the en- 
joyment of grass and light and air, prevented by an Act of 
1876 any further enclosure save where it would be a public 
as well as a private benefit, and promoted free access to 
commons and their use as public playgrounds. In a similar 
spirit, in 1878, Ministers secured, by the Epping Forest 
Act, the unenclosed portion of that wild tract on the verge 
of East London to the use of the public for ever. In these 
acts they were putting into effect a policy in which Mr. Shaw 
Lefevre, who (as Lord Eversley) is still with us, and 
Henry Fawcett, so often a foe to Disraeli's legislation, were 
pioneers; but both these reformers opposed the Enclosure 
Bill, because it was not, in their opinion, sufficiently dras- 
tic. With the like object of preserving the bounty of Na- 
ture free and uncontaminated for the people's enjoyment 
Ministers passed in 1876 the Rivers Pollution Act, abso- 
lutely prohibiting the introduction of solid matter into 
rivers securing them from further pollution by sewage, 
and imposing upon manufacturers the liability to render 
harmless the liquid flowing from their works. Here, as so 
often in their sanitary legislation, the strongest opposition 
with which Ministers met was from an eminent Radical 
in this instance Dilke. 

While passing these measures of material sanitation, 
the Government in no way neglected the mental and spiritual 
health of the people. Indeed, their record in the promo- 
tion of education was a substantial one. In 1876 they 


widely extended the benefit of elementary education by a 
Bill amending Forster's Act of 1870; in 1877 they re- 
formed by the agency of statutory commission the Uni- 
versities of Oxford and Cambridge, making the revenues 
of the Colleges more available for educational purposes: 
while in 1878 and 1879 they materially improved Irish 
education university, secondary, and elementary first, 
by establishing an examining and degree-giving Royal 
University to meet in some degree the claims of the Roman 
Catholics ; next, by taking a million from the Irish Church 
fund to encourage secondary education by means of exhibi- 
tions to successful students and of grants to managers of 
efficient schools ; and finally by establishing out of the same 
fund a proper system of pensions for national school teach- 
ers. In the sphere of spiritual sanitation, besides the re- 
spect for the religious needs of the people which a critical 
body of Dissenters and secularists in Parliament found only 
too clearly expressed in the terms of the English educational 
Bills, the Government encouraged the Church of England 
to extend her usefulness by extending her episcopate as ad- 
vocated by Disraeli himself in 1864; passing Bills for the 
creation of new dioceses of St. Albans and Truro in 1875 
and 1876, and a more general Bill in 1878, under which no 
fewer than four additional sees, Liverpool, Newcastle, W,ake- 
field and Southwell, were authorised. It was the greatest 
ecclesiastical reform since the Reformation, said Tait, the 
Archbishop of Canterbury, in the House of Lords. 

Such in general scope was the code of social and sanitary 
legislation which Disraeli's great Ministry established for 
the people of this country. It took the practical pressing 
needs of the working population one by one, and found a 
remedy for them, without inflicting hardship on any other 
class, or affecting our historical institutions in any way, 
save to strengthen their hold on popular affections. ' The 
palace is not safe, when the cottage is not happy,' Disraeli 
had said at a Wynyard Horticultural Show in 1848 ; and 
he did his best in the 1874-1880 Ministry to make the one 


safe by making the other happy. Well might Alexander 
Macdonald tell his constituents in 1879, ' The Conserva- 
tive party have done more for the working classes in five 
years than the Liberals have in fifty.' The work then done 
has had of course to be extended and supplemented in 
many respects, but in its main outlines it has stood the 
test of time. The aspirations of Sybil and ' Young Eng- 
land,' the doctrines in which Disraeli had ' educated ' his 
party for thirty years, the principles laid down in the 
great speeches of 1872, were translated into legislative form; 
it was Tory democracy in action. Gorst, who, owing to his 
position as party organiser, was in close touch with Dis- 
raeli during these years, has expounded in an impressive 
passage * what he understood the domestic policy of his 
' ancient master ' to be. 

The* principle of Tory democracy is that all government exists 
solely for the good of the governed; that Church and King, 
Lords and Commons, and all other public institutions are to be 
maintained so far, and so far only, as they promote the happiness 
and welfare of the common people; that all who are entrusted 
with any public function are trustees, not for their own class, 
but for the nation at large; and that the mass of the people may 
be trusted so to use electoral power, which should be freely con- 
ceded to them, as to support those who are promoting their in- 
terests. It is democratic because the welfare of the people is its 
supreme end; it is Tory because the institutions of the country 
are the means by which the end is to be attained. 

It is a proof of Disraeli's greatness, and of the sound- 
ness of his conception, that the stamp printed by him on 
Tory policy has persisted, though it has sometimes been 
obscured by accretions of class and party interest. Gorst, 
indeed, whose relations with his party became increasingly 
uncomfortable until he finally quitted it, held that only Ran- 
dolph Churchill and his immediate comrades carried on the 
Tory democratic tradition. This tradition was perhaps not 
the aspect of Disraeli's work that specially appealed to his 

i In a letter in l%e Times of Feb. 6, 1907. 


successor, Salisbury. But circumstances drove Salisbury 
into a close alliance with Chamberlain and Chamberlain's 
school of social reformers, and thus powerfully reinforced 
all the progressive elements of the Tory party. The result 
has been, to take only four conspicuous instances, that it is 
to that party that the people of this country owe 
the popular reconstitution of county government and of Lon- 
don government, the freeing of elementary education, the 
final consolidation of the Factory Acts in 1901, and the 
enormous educational advance of Mr. Balfour's Act of 1902. 
It may be added that the intimate association of Tory 
leaders with Labour representatives in Mr. Lloyd George's 
Ministry is an arrangement which largely carries into effect 
the ideals of Sybil. 

It has sometimes been suggested that because Disraeli 
left the conduct of the Ministerial measures of social reform 
mainly in the very competent hands of Cross and North- 
cote, therefore his own share in this beneficent legislation 
was little or none, and all the credit should be given to his 
lieutenants. In view of the facts, this is an untenable 
theory. Disraeli was no roi faineant in his Cabinet; on 
the contrary, by the testimony both of colleagues and of 
opponents, he was, in matters which interested him, himself 
the Government, to a greater degree even than Gladstone 
had been from 1868 to 1874. But from his first experience 
of Ministerial leadership in 1852 he had adopted the prac- 
tice of leaving his colleagues to manage by themselves the 
conduct of Bills affecting their own departments, and of not 
intervening himself save at critical moments. A system 
of Ministerial devolution, deliberately adopted when he 
was in the prime of manhood, would be all the more strictly 
followed at a time when approaching old age and recurrent 
gout made it imperative for him to husband his physical 
resources. His correspondence with the Queen and with 
his friends confirms in detail what was already sufficiently 
apparent from his public speeches, especially those at the 
close of the 1875 session : that the carrying into effect of the 


programme of social policy outlined in 1872 was not less 
his work than the programme itself. 

We have seen how he wrote of the Artisans' Dwellings Bill 
to the Queen; to Lady Bradford he boasted of his social 
reforms as ' a policy round which the country can rally.' 
He showed his personal interest in housing problems by at- 
tending, as Prime Minister, in June, 1874, the opening by 
Shaftesbury of a ' workmen's city,' at Lavender Hill, built 
by a limited company having shareholders of all ranks from 
dukes to bricklayers ; and then he had said that the best 
security for civilisation was the dwelling. * It is the real 
nursery of all domestic virtues, and without a becoming 
home the exercise of those virtues is impossible.' He had 
added that the experience gained at Lavender Hill might 
' guide the councils of the nation in that enterprise which 
I believe is impending in this country on a great scale, of 
attempting to improve the dwellings of the great body of 
the people.' With the labour legislation of the 1875 session 
his personal connection was especially close. He had been 
studying the labour laws at Hughenden in the autumn of 
1873, and had asked Hardy at that time for a memorandum 
on the law of conspiracy as being a subject that ' will press 
us.' We have his own definite statement that on this sub- 
ject he converted to his policy a hesitating Cabinet. 

To Lady Bradford. 

2, WHITEHALL GARDENS, June 29. . . . I cannot express to you 
the importance of last night. It is one of those measures, that 
root and consolidate a party. We have settled the long and 
vexatious contest bet [wee] n capital and labor. It will have the 
same effect on the great industrial population 'on the other side 
Trent' wh. the Short Time Bill had in the West Riding and 

I must tell you what I will tell to no other being, not even the 
Faery, to whom I am now going to write a report of the memora- 
ble night, that when Secy. X explained his plan to the Cabinet, 
many were agst. it, and none for it but myself; and it was only 
in deference to the P. Min[iste]r that a decision was postponed 
to another day. In the interval the thing was better understood 
and managed. 


To Queen Victoria,. 

2, WHITEHALL GARDENS, June 29, 1875. Mr. Disraeli with his 
humble duty to your Majesty: 

The proceedings in the House of Commons were so important 
last night, that he feels it his duty to furnish your Majesty with 
a memorandum of them. 

The ' Labor Laws ' of the Government, contained in two bills, 
were read a second time with not only approbation, but with 
general enthusiasm. The representative working men, like Mac- 
donald, and the great employers of labor, represented by Mr. 
Tennant, the member for Leeds, and others, equally hailed these 
measures as a complete and satisfactory solution of the greatest 
question of the day; the relations between Capital and Labor. 

Mr. Lowe and Mr. Forster spoke in the warmest terms of the 
measures, and the latter said that, after passing such Bills, Her 
Majesty's Government need have no apprehension of their re- 
ception during the recess, and that all their opponents must join 
in the general commendation of the country. 

Mr. Disraeli believes, that this measure, settling all the long 
and long-envenomed disputes between ' master and servant,' is 
the most important of the class, that has been carried in your 
Majesty's long and eventful reign: more important, he thinks, 
because of more extensive and general application, than even the 
Short Time Acts, which have had so beneficial an effect in 
softening the feelings of the working multitude. 

He is glad, too, that this measure was virtually passed on your 
Majesty's Coronation Day. . . . 

As the Prime Minister took little or no personal part in 
recommending to the House of Commons the social legisla- 
tion which owed so much to his initiative, the dramatic 
scenes of the session were few, and were mostly concerned 
with issues of very secondary importance. Questions of 
privilege, in lieu of more vital matters, loomed large, and 
the Opposition coquetted with the discontented Irish in 
raising difficulties where Disraeli's strong sense of the dig- 
nity of the House of Commons led him to hold a straight 
course. The House supported him in refusing to allow 
John Mitchel, an unpurged felon, elected for an Irish con- 
stituency, to take his seat ; in allowing Kenealy, the counsel 
whose outrageous methods in conducting the defence of the 


Tichborne claimant had caused his profession to cast him 
out, to advance, as a duly elected and unconvicted member, 
to the table of the House and take the oath in spite of 
his inability to get any fellow member to introduce him ; in 
condemning Kenealy's unworthy agitation against the 
judges who decided against him, and in declining to pay the 
smallest attention to his ridiculous contention that a private 
jest of Lord Chief Justice Cockburn's at a dinner- table was 
evidence of a fixed determination to condemn the plaintiff; 
and, further, in refusing to abandon offhand, because of an 
indiscreet enforcement of privilege claims, the ancient privi- 
lege of Parliament, as against the press. His letters to 
the Queen and his friends give some idea of the vicissitudes 
of the session. 

To Lady Bradford. 

2, WHITEHALL GARDENS, Feb. 17, 1875. . . . Yesterday, when 
I could well have been spared such trifling trouble, was taken up 
with a struggle betn. Parliamentary privilege and semi-royal 

I was engaged to dine with the Speaker, whom I threw over, 
as the phrase is, for the P. of W., alleging command. The 
Speaker wd. not take my excuse, alleging that there was no ' com- 
mand ' except from the Sovereign ; that a dinner to the Ministry 
without the P.M. was a mockery, and that he must vindicate 
the authority of the Chair. 

The Prince behaved very well. I was rather afraid, and pre- 
pared he wd. be annoyed. Monty, who was pretty well, was of 
great use to me. He saw Knollys and explained the painful 
situation, and after saw the Prince, who had been hunting. 
The Prince said it was a grand party; all the Ambassadors and 
the Derbys, etc., and that he wanted the Prime Minister; that 
he thought the Speaker always dined on Saturday (in wh. he 
was right; this is an innovation) but he felt the importance of 
the occasion and so released me. Monty was with him twenty 
minutes or so, and he was amiable and agreeable. In the eve- 
ning came a large card, and a note from Knollys, saying the 
Prince thought I cd. be represented at the dinner by no one bet- 
ter than by my faithful Secy.. Monty is quite in his stirrups, 
and has no doubt that all the Prince's banditti, at the Marlboro' 
Club, will be very jeal[ous]. . . . 


To Anne Lady Chesterfield. 

2, WHITEHALL GARDENS, Feb. 19. . . . I could not write yes- 
terday, for it was a day of great trouble and anxiety. The Op- 
position chiefs had signified their intention to support my reso- 
lution against the rebel, Mitchel; but only just before the meet- 
ing of the House I heard that Harcourt and Lowe had got round 
Ld. Hartington, and persuaded him to support, as an amend- 
ment, a committee to inquire. This, if carried, would have been 
a great blow, and it was supposed, that there was a chance, and 
not a bad one, of its being carried. 

If I had accepted the amendment, in lieu of my own uncom- 
promising Resolutions, the humiliation of the Government would 
have been very great. 

The result showed that I had not miscalculated the spirit of 
the Ho. of Commons, and the Opposition chiefs, while taking an 
unpatriotic course to please the Irish rebels, sustained an ig- 
nominious overthrow. There has seldom been a greater triumph 
for a Minister than yesterday. After dividing on the pretence 
of adjourning the debate, and getting beaten by a majority of 
more than 160, they allowed my Resolutions to pass nemine con- 
tradicente. . . . 

To Lady Bradford. 

WHITEHALL], Feb. 26. . . . We did well in the House last 
night, and carried the second reading of our Friendly Societies 
Bill. That, with the Artisans' Dwellings Bill, is the second 
measure of social improvement that I think we shall now cer- 
tainly pass. It is important, because they indicate a policy round 
wh. the country can rally. 

The question who shall be Serg[ean]t-at-Arms in the House 
of Commons, is agitating political society, and is in a strange 
quandary. ... In brief, Ld. Hertford nominated his son-in-law 
(Erskine 1 I think), and sent in his name to the Queen. The 
House of Commons signed a Memorial to Her Majesty, praying 
the Queen to bestow the office on Gosset, 2 wh. they intended the 
Speaker to present. He disapproved the Memorial, as an in- 
terference with the prerogative, but said he wd. represent the 
unanimous feeling of the House to the Primo, etc., etc. 

So I wrote to the Queen and put the matter before her, never 
anticipating what wd. happen. Last night, I received her reply. 
She has thrown over Ld. Hertford, and leaves me to communi- 

1 Sir H. D. Erskine, Sergeant-at-Arms from 1885 to 1915. 

2 Then the Deputy-Sergeant, who was, Disraeli told Lady Chester- 
field, ' a great favorite with all parties/ and had served for thirty-five 


cate her gracious favor to the Commons, the son-in-law of Ld. 
Hertford to have the deputy place. I have not told a human 
being except you, as I wish, if possible, to spare Ld. H. and give 
him a golden occasion to be gracious. . . . 

To Queen Victoria. 

2, WHITEHALL GARDENS, March 5, 1875. Mr. Disraeli with 
his humble duty to your Majesty: 

The large majority of your Majesty's Government, on the 
Army Exchange Bill, was sustained last night, and it is rumored, 
that the future opposition will be slight. 

There is a strong party, in both Houses, which desires the 
restoration to the House of Lords of their position as Court of 
Ultimate Appeal. 

An Act to abolish this function, so far as England is con- 
cerned, has already passed, but does not come into force until 
next November. 

The House of Lords is still the Court of Ultimate Appeal for 
Ireland and Scotland, and it is not probable that the Bills intro- 
duced, to assimilate those countries to England, will pass. 

The anomaly, then, will be established of separate Courts of 
Final Appeal for different parts of your Majesty's dominions. 

To remove this anomaly, it is understood that Mr. Walpole 
will bring the matter before the House of Commons, with the 
view of practically rescinding the English Act, that comes into 
play in November. The circumstances are rather critical. 

Mr. Disraeli attended, yesterday, a meeting of the peers, at 
the Duke of Richmond's, and succeeded so far as to induce them 
to take a prudent and moderate course for the moment, but their 
spirit was high and somewhat unmanageable. Peers, who, two 
years ago, showed the greatest apathy on the subject, have become 
quite headstrong. . . . 

March 17. . . . Yesterday was a great day in the House of 
Commons. In consequence of the tactics of delay on the part 
of the Opposition, Mr. Disraeli was obliged to have recourse to 
a morning sitting; unprecedented before Easter so yesterday 
the House was sitting all day. 

But the greater event was the return from Elba : Mr. Glad- 
stone not only appeared, but rushed into the debate. The House, 
very full, was breathless. The new members trembled and flut- 
tered like small birds when a hawk is in the air. As the attack 
was made on Mr. Secretary Hardy and his department, Mr. Dis- 
raeli was sorry not to be able to accept the challenge, but he 
had nothing to regret. Mr. Hardy, who, suffering under a great 


sorrow, 1 has been languid this session, was inspired by the great 
occasion, and never spoke with more force and fire. The Bill 2 
was carried through Committee by large majorities, and without 
alteration. . . . 

To Anne Lady Chesterfield. 

HUGHENDEN MANOR, 3 March 30. I returned here yesterday 
with a cold, notwithstanding all my care: but I had to pace the 
corridor at Windsor, wh. I think can't be less than 1,000 feet 
long, five times a day (that was exercise) with blasts from every 
opening in my progress (that was air). 

I did not return smothered with flowers, tho' the Faery was 
most gracious, and is going to give me her portrait for Hughen- 
den. For a long time I wrote, almost every day, to three ladies : 
one of them has given me her portrait; another has promised me 
her portrait; the third has not only not given me her portrait, 
but has prevented another person from giving it to me. I shd. 
[have placed the two sisters in the saloon, each on one side of our 
Sovereign. . . . 

Confidential. 2, WHITEHALL GARDENS, May 5. Public affairs 
are so grave and pressing that I can hardly command my mind 
to write a private letter even to you. 

I am now going to the Faery, who has much to make her dis- 
quieted. Bismarck is playing the game of the old Buonaparte. 4 

Then I must go to the Ho. of Commons, and blow into the 
air the conspiracy of the Liberals, the Fenians, and The Times 
newspaper, their organ, to discredit, and eventually to destroy, 
H. M. Government. They will find both results a little more 
difficult than they imagine. I have no doubt I shall baffle and 
beat them down, but I have got a little gout, wh. is not very 
agreeable under such circumstances. . . . 

To Lady Bradford. 

2, WHITEHALL GARDENS, May 7, 1875. . . . We got on cap- 
itally last night in the House of C. after my lecture. The Irish 
withdrew all their opposition, and we nearly got thro' Com- 
mittee with one of our sanitary Bills, all of wh. I am resolved 
to carry. 

Gladstone, I am told, is furious, tho' a greater bully than 
himself never ruled the Ho. of Comm. The plot was to waste 

1 Hardy's eldest daughter died on Jan. 8. 

2 Regimental Exchanges Bill. 

s Disraeli spent the Easter Recess at Hughenden, with the exception 
of a short visit to Windsor. 
* See below, ch. 11. 


the sess[ion] and then hold the Government up to scorn, for 
their imbecility, during the recess. 

Late at night on Tuesday, without anybody being aware of 
it, we passed the 3rd reading of the Artisans' Dwellings Bill, 
our chief measure, wh. now goes to the Lords. They have got 
the Army Exchange Bill already, and before many days they 
will have the Irish Bill ; x so we have not done so very badly. 

The Agricultural Holdings Bill, which has passed the Lords, 
I intend to bring in myself; nor shall they have a moment's 
rest. ... ' 

Northcote's Budget for 1875 raised the reputation of the 
Government. He established a new sinking fund, setting 
aside for the service of the National Debt a fixed annual 
sum, in excess of what was required for payment of interest ; 
an admirable plan, under which more than 150 millions of 
debt were paid off in the last quarter of the nineteenth cen- 
tury. Gladstone once more rushed out of his retirement 
into the fray, but, says a Liberal historian, 2 ' did not even 
succeed in dispelling the notion that if he had been in office 
he would have done much the same thing himself.' 

To Lady Bradford. 

2, WHITEHALL GARDENS, S.W., May 8, 1875. Last night was 
to have witnessed the destruction of the Govt: an attack on 
our whole line, led on by Achilles himself. Never were assail- 
ants so completely overthrown. 

1 Irish Peace Preservation Bill. Disraeli's speech on the second 
reading contained a well-known passage : ' There was once a member 
of this House, one of its greatest ornaments, who sat opposite this box, 
or an identical one, and indeed occupied the place which I unworthily 
fill. That was Mr. Canning. In his time, besides the discovery of a 
new world, dry champagne was invented. Hearing everybody talking 
of dry champagne, Mr. Canning had a great desire to taste it, and 
Charles Ellis, afterwards Lord Seaford, got up a little dinner for 
him, care of course being taken that there should be some dry cham- 
pagne. Mr. Canning took a glass, and after drinking it and thinking 
for a moment, exclaimed, " The man who says he likes dry champagne 
will say anything." Now I do not want to enter into rude contro- 
versy with any of my hon. friends opposite who doubt the existence 
of Ribbonism; but this I will say, that the man who maintains that 
Ribbonism does not exist is a man who ought to drink dry cham- 
pagne.' Ribbonism was the form that Irish conspiracy had assumed 
for the time. 

2 Mr. Herbert Paul in his History of Modern England. 


There was really a flutter of fear along our benches, which 
were crowded, when Gladstone rose. We have many new mem- 
bers, and they had heard so much of G. that they trembled. 

The great man spoke for two hours, but it was the return 
from Elba, The Chancellor of the Exr. our little Northcote, 
originally G.'s private secretary, followed him, and I can truly 
say annihilated him, in one of the most vigorous speeches that 
ever was made by a man master of his subject. 

Lowe tried to rally the affair, and I put up Hunt to answer 
him. It did not require great gifts to do that, for Lowe made 
a stammering affair of it a dead failure. 

Then the most curious part of all every finance authority 
on the Liberal side spoke for the Government, and by the time 
I had intended to rise to sum up the question, the House had 
nearly vanished. Enough members however remained to help 
us to get thro' a great deal of business; and, whether it be what 
I said in the House or not, all I know is that we have done more 
business during the last 8 and 40 hours than for the last fort- 
night. . . . 

HUGHENDEN MANOR, May 19. . . . I have been here nearly 
a week, 1 and have not interchanged a syllable with any human 
being. My personal attendant (Baum), tho' sedulous, and, some- 
times I believe, even honest, is of a sullen and supercilious tem- 
perament, and never unnecessarily opens his mouth. This 1 
think a recommendation. Work has been brisk, especially for- 
eign. . . . 

I am very much like Robinson Crusoe on his island, before 
he found Friday. Talking of which immortal work reminds me 
how I have passed my evenings here: in reading Gil Bias. What 
a production! It is human life. I read it when a child, and 
was charmed with its unceasing adventure; but could not realise 
its real meaning. I read it now with a very large experience of 
existence, and I relish every line. 

HOUSE OF COMMONS, 6 o'ck. [? May 27, 1875]. Gladstone has 
come down like the Dragon of Wantley breathing fire and fury 
on some of our financial Bills. . . . 

To Queen Victoria. 

HOUSE OF COMMONS, May 31, 1875. Mr. Disraeli with his 
humble duty to your Majesty: 

He has, generally speaking, been a little remiss, this session, 
in reporting the operations of the House of Commons to your 

i For the Whitsuntide recess. 


Majesty, but there have been more interesting topics to trouble 
your Majesty about. 

To-night, however, has been one of a signal character. 

For nearly a month, the Opposition, by every means the press 
could afford, have endeavoured to impress upon the country, that 
your Majesty's Government have made a great mistake in their 
management of the ' privilege question ' ; that they have lost a 
golden opportunity of settling these difficulties; and have given 
that opportunity to Lord Hartington to establish himself in the 
confidence of the country. 

Mr. Disraeli was perfectly aware, that the whole of the repre- 
sentation was a delusion, and knew that the advice he had given 
to his party, on the subject, was the sound and right one: that 
which had been adopted, or followed, on similar occasions, by 
all the great leaders and members, who preceded him: Peel, 
Lord Russell, Graham, Lords Eversley and Ossington, Sir George 
Grey, Bouverie. 

To-day and to-night, after many delays, the great occasion 
arrived, ' one of the decisive battles ' not of the world, but of the 

There was a meeting of the supporters of the Ministry in the 
morning in Downing Street, when [? whom] Mr. Disraeli ad- 
dressed. There were 248 present. The hour, in consequence of 
the levee, was changed from two to noon: otherwise, as the tele- 
grams showed, there would have been 333 members present. Sir 
Robert Peel never could assemble such a number, even in his 
palmiest day. 

The battle commenced at five o'clock; at y% past seven the 
House divided on Lord Hartington's chief resolution, when he 
was beaten by a majority of 107: then he threw up his cards, 
and said he would leave it to Mr. Disraeli to do what he thought 
best. And he did it. 

This immense victory will have an incalculably beneficial ef- 
fect on the progress of public business. 

To Anne Lady Chesterfield. 

2, WHITEHALL GARDENS, June 1, 1875. Before you get this 
you will have known the result of the great Opposition plot, 
scheme, confederacy, of wh. poor Hartington was the tool, and 
the victim. 

For more than a month, there has been an organised agita- 
tion, to subvert the privileges of the House of Commons, show- 
ing that I was totally incapable of dealing with these great ques- 
tions, self-confessedly incompetent, and ought to be deprived of 


the leadership, not only because I was of opinion that no change 
was desirable, but had also given my rival such a golden op- 
portunity of distinguishing himself and his party. They had 
engaged every newspaper in the plot; even the World, and of 
course Carnarvon's favorite, the Spectator. The Times began it 
before Whitsun with announcing in a series of articles that the 
Ho. of Commons was in a state of chaos from my disinclination, 
or inability, to settle these inevitable changes. Even 4 and 20 
hours ago, they said the Cabinet Council of Saturday was to 
receive my resignation, and to listen to the address in wh. it was 
to be communicated to the House of Commons. 

Yesterday morning I held a meeting of the party in Downing 
St., and soon saw they were troops with wh., as the D. of Welling- 
ton sd. of his Peninsular legions, that they were men with whom 
he cd. march anywhere [stc]. I addressed them in a speech of 
55 minutes, and spoke to my satisfaction. 

Then, after a long levee, I went to the House of C. ; and at 
y% past seven Ld. Hartington, ' the coming man,' was beaten 
by a majority of 107 ! ! ! threw up the reins, and begged me to 
settle the matter as I liked; wh. I did. There never was such 
a smashing defeat. The House in the most signal manner con- 
firmed my policy, that no change in our privileges shd. take 
place, and it was only owing to my personal influence that I cd. 
get them to assent to a slight alteration in one of our rules, 1 
wh. will keep the Irish ruffians in order. . . . 

I can't get rid of my cough ; but I am stronger, and Sir Wil- 
liam [Jenner] maintains every day that I am better. He says 
he has to write to the Queen. every day he sees me: but that her 
great anxiety about my health is occasioned, he thinks, not so 
much from love of me, as dread of somebody else. . . . 

To Queen Victoria. 

HOUSE OF COMMONS, June 11, 1875. . . . With respect to com- 
pulsory education, it was defeated on Wednesday by a majority 
of more than 90, and though the majority was even much larger 
last year, Mr. Disraeli attributes this diminution only to casual 
and social causes; principally Ascot races, always perilous to the 

Mr. Disraeli had scores of supporters away: the Opposition 
only their leader, the Marquess of Hartington. 

i At that period strangers, including reporters, were ordered to 
withdraw whenever any individual member called attention to their 
presence; and the Irish Extremists had made use of the rule to ob- 
struct business. The alteration provided that a division should first 
be taken, without debate. 


Lord Henry Somerset, the Controller of your Majesty's House- 
Jhold, was absent, and entertaining his friends; among them, 
several of your Majesty's Government. Mr. Disraeli was, how- 
ever, ruthless; he kept the wires of the telegraph vibrating al- 
ternately with menaces and entreaties, and exactly five minutes 
before the division, a special train arrived with the Controller 
of the Household, and all his wassailers. 

Lord Sandon spoke well: and was completely master of his 

To Lady Bradford. 

2, WHITEHALL GARDENS, June 13, 1875. . . . I had a Cabinet 
at 12, and I gave them a good ' wigging,' I believe that is the 
word, for the treatment of the Sultaun of Zanzibar at Ascot. 
They sate still and silent, like schoolboys; but my observations 
told, for, in the course of the afternoon I received the enclosed 
letter from one of the most powerful of our daimios. You know 
what those animals are in Japan? 

About four o'ck. by appointment, I paid my visit to the Sul- 
taun myself. He received me at the door, or rather in the hall, 
of his hotel, with all his chiefs. They were not goodlooking, but 
he himself is an Arab with a well-favored mien, good manners, 
a pleasing countenance, and the peculiar repose of an Oriental 
gentleman. Being used, from my travels, to these interviews 
and gentry, I addressed him directly, looking in his face as I 
spoke, and never turning to the interpreter. This greatly pleases 
them, but it is very difficult to do. The audience was successful. 
I took Monty (just arrived) with me, and Mr. Bourke the Under 
Sec. for For. Affairs. . . . 

The article is certainly Gladstone's; I have not seen it, but 
I never read anything he writes. His style is so involved, so 
wanting both in melody and harmony, that it always gives me a 

The most dramatic moments of the session arose out of 
the Merchant Shipping Bill, an apparently prosaic measure, 
which, however, resulted in an explosion, dangerous to the 
existence of the Government. For some years there had 
been a growing movement, headed by Plimsoll, member for 
Derby, in favour of legislation to bring merchant shipping 
under further control, so as to minimise loss of life among 
seamen. The movement was in accord with the social policy 
of the Government; and accordingly, the Board of Trade 


prepared a Bill. But the subject was a thorny one, and the 
Government found it difficult to steer a middle course be- 
tween shipowners and humanitarians ; while the difficulties 
were increased by the inadequacy of Adderley, the Presi- 
dent of the Board of Trade, and his uneasy relations with 
the permanent officials of the Board. Disraeli's interfer- 
ence became necessary at an early stage. 

To Lady Bradford. 

2, WHITEHALL GARDENS, April 10. . . . This has been a week 
of immense labor, and some anxiety, tho' of more excitement. 
. . . The Mercht. Shipping Bill, a measure necessarily of great 
importance, was the cause. Before I left town, I was confiden- 
tially informed that there were rocks ahead, that Adderley had 
quarrelled with all his office, that he was disliked by his own 
party in the House, that they wd. not support the Government 
measure but Plimsoll, who is a Moody and Sankey in politics: 
half rogue and half enthusiast that is to say, one of those 
characters who live by pandering to passion, and fall into an en- 
thusiastic love and admiration of themselves. I took certain 
measures to put things right before I left town, and delegated 
the rest to Northcote, who generally succeeds. But alas! not in 
this case. 

I had a bad despatch at Hughenden, and when I got to town 
the Bill being fixed for 2nd reading on Thursday ensuing I 
found perfect anarchy. ... I was obliged to undertake the man- 
agement of the whole case : a vast and most complicated case, and 
of wh. then I knew little. Besides this I have. had to give con- 
stant interviews to the confused, the refractory and the vacillat- 
ing. After the Cab. on Wednesday, I was obliged to give my- 
self to this work, instead of writing to the Queen as I had 
promised ; and I did not get things really right in order 
until 4 o'ck. on Thursday afternoon, so that they were painting 
the scenes as the curtain drew up. 

But the result was most triumphant. Adderley, who is after 
all a gentleman, and who has been, and may be yet, the victim 
of a cabal, behaved very well, and made a discreet opening ad- 
dress. We not only carried the second reading, but carried it 
without a division, and Plimsoll had to leave the House, being 
desperately ill, probably from chagrin. Then the enemy, finding 
they cd. not successfully oppose the Bill, tried to adjourn the 
debate, wh. wd. have been most injurious to us, but I coaxed the 
House into carrying my point. . . . 


It is perhaps not surprising that, after this troublesome 
experience Disraeli and the Cabinet should have preferred, 
when a choice had to be made late in July, to drop the 
Merchant Shipping Bill in order to proceed with the Agri- 
cultural Holdings Bill. But when Disraeli made the an- 
nouncement, on July 22, Plimsoll lost patience, moved the 
adjournment in order to protest against the abandonment 
of the shipping measure, vehemently denounced * ship- 
knackers/ shouted that he would unmask the ( villains ' 
who sent seamen to their graves, pirouetted in the middle 
of the floor, shook his fist at Disraeli, and, defying the 
authority of the Speaker, flung himself out of the House. 
Disraeli, as leader of the House, moved that Plimsoll should 
be reprimanded; but he eventually accepted the plea of the 
offender's friends that he was in a state of intense excitement 
and would, when he was calmer, express regret for his con- 
duct; and substituted a motion merely requesting him to 
attend in his place on that day week. 

The Opposition, who had been on the lookout for a cry 
against the Government, thought that they had now found 
an excellent opportunity for working upon the humanitarian 
feelings of the people. Disraeli's private letters give a 
highly coloured story of the proceedings of the next few days, 
and show how he turned his difficulties to good account and 
finally passed a Shipping Bill after all. 

To Lady Bradford. 

2, WHITEHALL GARDENS, July 27. I was up till 3 o'ck., and 
have a terrible day (days!) before me, but I have risen early, 
that, if possible, I might write to you. 

The * was an anxious one. A certain person violent, 

treating the whole agitation with contempt would not sacrifice 
our dignity as a Government, wh. he saw wd. be the result. 

Strange to say, he was supported by one of a totally different 
temperament, wbo had proved by inexpugnable logic on a previous 
occasion that the course then adopted was ' the only one,' and he 
stuck to it. 

i The dash appears in the original letter. The word omitted ia ob- 
viously ' Cabinet.' 


At one moment I thought nothing cd. be effected; but at last, 
and with unanimity, there was a decision. 

That has had immediate effect at least in the H. of C. 
There was ' a meeting ' in the morning of yesterday, as last year, 
of an expectant Cabinet. Gladstone was brought up, and Carl- 
ingford, who had been President of the B. of Trade, and then 
a great opponent of Plimsoll, was consulted. There was to have 
been a fierce attack on the Government on the order of the day, 
but Sir C. Adderley's announcement stopped all this, and we 
went quietly into Committee on the Agri[cultura]l Bill, and 
made immense progress, so that I really expect to conclude the 
Committee to-day, for I have got the whole morning late from 
2 to 7, and then from 9 till the usual hour. 

I entreat you not to breathe a word of what I have written 
above to any human being. I don't mean Bradford, of course, 
from whom I have no secrets, and who is a Privy Councillor, 
and whom I wd. trust were he not a P.C. 

The Cabinet meets in an hour. We have to settle our meas- 
ure ; and what is of not less importance my answer this morning 
at 2 o'ck. to Dillwyn, as to whether we will give a day immedi- 
ately to P[limsoll]'s Bill. I think as much depends on my reply 
as on our measure. . . . 

I sadly miss you all, tho' I could not go and see dear Ida, 1 even 
if she cd. receive me. I had a talk with Newport in the lobby, 
who seems now my only link to domestic life and private happi- 
ness. . . . 

J[ohn] M[anners], who has just come from O[sborne], says 
that the Faery only talked on one subject, and that was her 
Primo. According to him, it was her gracious opinion that 
the Govt. shd. make my health a Cabinet question. Dear John 
seemed quite surprised at what she said; but you are more used 
to these ebullitions. . . . 

A certain person, the great logician, made, among many other 
sharp remarks, a good one yesterday. He said he had not only 
not changed his opinion, but believed that the withdrawment of 
the Mercht. Ship. Bill wd. have passed without notice by the 
country, had it not been for two unexpected incidents wh. we 
cd. not have counted on the Plimsoll scene, and the verdict 
against a wicked shipowner in the Irish Courts. 

The first showed,' he said, what a dangerous man P. was to 
trust to in legislation, and the second proved that the existing 
law was an efficient one; and yet these two incidents, fanned of 
course by faction, have agitated the country. . . . 

i Then Lady Newport, now the Countess Dowager of Bradford. 


P.S. What do you think of yr. new friend, Delane? I be- 
lieve he was at the meeting of the new Cabinet. . . . 

July 28, 6 o'ck. I send a rapid line after a morning of great 
excitement, of endless and terrific rumors, and all possible events 
and combinations Plimsoll, to-morrow, not to appear; Plim- 
soll, to-morrow, to appear and re-defy the House; to get into the 
custody of the Sergt.-at-Arms at all events, but to come down 
first with four brass bands, open carriage with four white horses, 
and twenty thousand retainers! 

Then our Bill to-day was not to be permitted to be brought 
in, and other mischances and difficulties and humiliations. How- 
ever, our Bill has been brought in, and I have fixed its second 
reading for Friday morning and remain, ostensibly at least, 
perfectly calm, amidst a sea and storm of panic and confusion. 
My position is difficult in one respect, for the Queen, devoted to 
me, can't help me ; for if I were defeated in the House, I cd. not 
dissolve, for, in the present fever, I shd. probably get worsted ; 
and I can't prorogue, for I have not got my money, the Esti- 
mates not yet being concluded. 

All I have got to look to are my friends. If they stand by 
me, I shall overcome everything, and greatly triumph, but does 
friendship exist in August? Does it not fly to Scotland, and 
Norway, and the Antipodes or Goodwood? I have seen some 
wonderful long faces, that used to smile on me. I neither love 
them more nor less. The only beings in the world I care for are 
away and Heaven knows even if they spare a thought to me 
and my agitated fortunes. 

July 29, 10 o'ck. I got your letter an hour ago ; a great con- 
solation to me in my fierce life. . . . 

Now I know exactly what a General must feel in a great battle 

like Waterloo for example with aide-de-camps flying up 

every moment with contrary news; and spies, and secret 

agents, and secret intelligence, and all sorts of proposals and 


The Plimsollites, in and out of Parliament, are at me; now 
cajoling, now the reign of terror. Their great object is to get 
Plimsoll into the custody of the Sergt.-at-Arms, and on my mo- 
tion. That, they consider, from what they have been told, is 
inevitable if he does not appear to-day; and they are right ac- 
cording to precedent. But I am the person to make the motion, 
and I will make a precedent too. After the declarations of his 
authorised friend in the House, that ' he was off his head,' etc., 
I shall hold him as a man not responsible for his conduct, and 
move the adjournment of his case for a month. This will sell 


them if they try the scheme of his absence T i.e., disobedience 
to the commands of the House. 

I shd. not be surprised if, after all his bluster, he gives in 
and makes an unconditional apology. Every intriguer is trying 
to make some fortune by the crisis. Plimsoll has a wonderful 
number of enthusiastic friends, very suddenly. I only wish 
they had supported our Bill when it was before them, instead of 
throwing every obstacle in its way. Horsman is very busy; 
asked Monty to luncheon yesterday, told him it was all over with 
the Government, tho' he once thought he cd. save them; ad- 
vised, as a last resource, that I should deliver a panegyric to-day 
in favour of P. and accept his Bill pure et simple. 

My own judgment of the House of Commons is that a con- 
siderable, and the most reputable, section of the Opposition is 
against Plimsoll, and believes, wh. is the truth, that his Bill 
wd. injure, not to say destroy, our mercantile marine, and that, 
if my friends are firm to me, I shall certainly triumph. 

As far as I can hear, I have no reason to doubt their devo- 
tion. Many of our most considerable men have told me that 
they are prepared, if necessary, to alter all their plans and re- 
main by my side. . . . 

Tell Bradford I was greatly disappointed that his horse came 
in second. I cannot understand why a great noble, with his 
brains and knowledge of horses, does not command the turf. 
I don't want him to have a great stable, but I want him to have 
a famous one; that he shd., at any rate, obtain some first-rate 
blood, and then carefully, and sedulously, breed from it, as 
Rothschild did with King Tom. I saw the beginning of his plan 
at Mentmore, and people turned up their noses at his scheme 
and his sire for a while; and yet eventually that blood gave him 
the Derby, the Oaks, and the St. Leger in one year. I shd. like 
to see that done at dear Weston. 

For aught I know, while I write of these pleasant things, the 
mob may be assembling wh. is to massacre me. I have several 
letters threatening assassination. I shall take no precautions, 
but walk down alone with Monty, and meet my fate, whatever 
comes. I feel sure, at least almost, that there will be one family 
in England who will cherish my memory with kindness and in- 

July 30. Everything went off quietly yesterday out of doors, 
and triumphantly inside. 

Mr. Secy. X, who is naturally a brave and firm man, got so 
frightened about his chief, that I believe there were 1000 con- 
stables hid in the bowers of Whitehall Gardens and about. But 


I had no fear, and principally from this, that Monty, who has 
been everywhere and doing everything, ascertained that Brad- 
laugh and Co. had completely failed in getting up a Clerken- 
well mob, as the people said they wd. not go agst. me, who had 
passed the Labor Laws for them. 

All the meetings in the provinces were held by tel. orders 
from the Reform Club; but before they cd. hold their meetings, 
at least generally speaking, the announcement of the Govt. meas- 
ure had taken the wind out of their sails. 

Plimsoll also got restive and did not like the brass bands and 
flags, etc., and said he wd. not be made a party tool, and that he 
had received more support from the Tories than the Whigs. The 
consequence of all this was very much fiasco. 

The papers will tell you what took place in the House. The 
campaign opened unfortunately for the foe. They tried to stop 
public business and failed ignominiously. Adam, the Whig 
Whip, who is a gentleman, told Dyke that ' the Plimsoll business 
was a flash in the pan.' They did not think so 8 and 40 hours ago. 

Then after the failure, I got into Committee on my Bill, and 
absolutely at one o'ck. concluded it amid loud cheers. I never 
had more continuous, and greater, majorities than thro'out this 

I am very glad Harry C[haplin] was not at Goodwood. He 
has never left my side, and his aid has been invaluable. He is 
a natural orator, and a debater too. He is the best speaker in 
the H. of C., or will be. Mark my words. 

I have a Cabinet at noon : the H. of C. at two, when we have the 
2nd reading of our Ship. Bill. I shd. not be surprised if it 
passed without a division. The battle of Armageddon, howr., 
will be on Monday, when in Committee they will try to substitute 
Plimsolliana for our proposals. I am sending all over the world 
for votes. Chaplin has a house full for Brighton races, but re- 
mains here. 01 si sic omnia! or rather, omnes. 

Aug. 3. We pulled thro', but not triumphantly; had the Op- 
position had a leader adequate to the opportunity, we might have 
been much humiliated. As it was, it needed much tact and 
vigilance to mitigate, or conceal, our concessions; but the enemy 
made so many mistakes, and played their cards so ill, that it all 
ended better than was once hoped. 

Adderley committed an awful blunder! . . . 

These political excursions and alarums did not prevent 
Disraeli from making frequent appearances in society. 
He always set a high value on social influences in consolidat- 


ing a political connection, and often lamented the backward- 
ness of Tory magnificoes and great ladies in providing 
counter-attractions to Whig hospitalities. He was deter- 
mined to do his own part as Prime Minister; and accord- 
ingly, in the spring of 1875, when he had for a while thrown 
off his gout, he gave a series of political and Parliamentary 
dinners, mixing Royal Princes and Ambassadors with his 
peers and Members of Parliament. In this experiment he 
was following the counsels of his own Vivian Grey, uttered 
fifty years earlier : ' I think a course of Parliamentary 
dinners would produce a good effect. It gives a tone to 
a political party. The science of political gastronomy has 
never been sufficiently studied.' The dinner-parties proved 
a great success; and, when Granville started a somewhat 
similar series, Disraeli flattered himself that this time it 
was the Whigs who were the imitators. 

To Anne Lady Chesterfield. 

WHITEHALL GARDENS, Feb. 24. . . . I have asked an Ambassa- 
dor to each of my dinners, a new feature. . . . Ct. Schouvaloff 1 
is a most agreeable man, and very goodlooking, and very clever. 
When he had his first audience of me in the spring on his ar- 
rival, he cd. not speak or comprehend a word of English. Yes- 
terday at the levee be said to me, ' I want to have the honor of 
another interview some day, but here I will not talk shop.' And 
so I found that be now not only speaks English, but English 
slang, quite idiomatic. . . . 

To Lady Bradford. 

H. OF COMM., Pel). 25, 1875. . . . The dinner, wb. I expected 
to be a failure, turned out to be a great success. The physi- 
cal part was good. It was jreally a dinner of high calibre 
and quite bot, which is wonderful when you have to feed forty. 
I sate betn. the German Ambassador and D. of Manchester, who 
is silly, but not dull. Next to him was Lothair, 2 who had trav- 
elled up from the wilds of Scotland to show his gratitude for his 
Thistle. He had other hardships to endure, for it is Lent! and, 
of course, he could eat nothing but fish. He managed pretty well, 
for he instructed his attendant to secure for him a large dish of 
well-sauced salmon, and that sustained him during all the courses. 

i The new Russian Ambassador. 2 See above, ch. 4. 


Claud Hamilton sate next to Lothair, and talked well, and made 
him talk. But everybody talked. I think it was the most noisy 
party, without being boisterous, I well recollect. These affairs, 
generally, are solemn, not to say dull. To make up for the lack 
of brilliant furniture, I gave them carte blanche for plants and 
flowers; and they certainly effected marvels. . . . 

I found Miinster a very capable man, with great conversa- 
tional powers. The cold proud Duke of Northumberland sate 
next to him, but was grim and acid. . . . 

2, WHITEHALL GARDENS, March 15. . . . My new dean 
preached: Monty liked him, he never charmed me. What was 
good was his length ; twenty minutes, tho' a charity sermon. The 
plate brought to me was disgraceful: there were so many six- 
pences, that it looked like a dish of whitebait. . . . 

It is mentioned to me, and it is true (look in the newspapers) 
that Granville, my rival in more senses than one, has copied 
my scheme and system of banquets, wh. was quite original. He 
started on Saturday, with an Ambassador or two, Vk a dozen peers 
(with one Duke at least) and a batch of commoners, tho' he 
can only manage ' covers for 26.' I can 42. ... 

To Anne Lady Chesterfield. 

2, WHITEHALL GARDENS, April 17. . . . Affairs are very heavy 
in weight, I mean, not in spirit, for there is no want of that 
in external affairs; but I hope to prevent war. It is a proud 
position for England if she can do this. 1 . . . 

I have got a banquet to-day, and H.R.H. the Duke of Cam- 
bridge comes to me : the Duke of Edinburgh on the 28th ; and the 
Prince of Wales, I believe, on the Birthday. I have now dined 
242 members of the House of Commons and sixty peers. I had 
hoped to have finished this campaign by the end of April; but 
I shall hardly be able to do it, as there are 112 members of the 
Commons to be invited, and they are not contented unless they 
meet a certain portion of swells. . . . 

Besides giving many dinners himself, Disraeli constantly 
dined out, often attended evening parties, and even some- 
times, until he was scolded out of his imprudence by Lady 
Chesterfield, finished up his night at a ball. If the din- 
ner or the party involved a meeting and a talk with Lady 
Bradford, it counted with him as a success. 

i See below, ch. 11. 


To Anne Lady Chesterfield. 

2, WHITEHALL GARDENS, July 3. . . . On Wednesday I dined 
at the Malmesburys' a Duke of Cambridge banquet, good com- 
pany. I took down Lady Tankerville, who is joyous. On my 
other side an Australian, who has beguiled foolish and very young 

Ld. into marrying her, on the pretence she is a great 

beauty. All the relations are by way of vowing she is so now, 
tho' they were very squeamish about the match at first. I thought 
her an underbred minx, affecting artlessness, and trying it on 
me! I cd. only see Selina at a distance, but after dinner, when 
the D. of Cambridge had done with her, I got my turn, and she 
was delightful made a rather dull dinner a success. Lady A. 
was there. Three great houses were open that night, Grosvenor, 
Apsley, and Stafford. But I was firm and went home at once. 
This getting to bed before midnight answers very well. . . . 

Yesterday I dined at 43, Bel. Square a brilliant and amusing 
party. I took down the Dss. of Westminster to dinner and sate 
next to Pss. Mary. The Duchess said as we walked in, 'You 
are going to sit between the two fattest women in London.' That 
might be true; and yet they have both grand countenances, and 
are agreeable and extremely intelligent. Indeed Princess Mary 
has wit. The Abercorns were there also; the beautiful Viceroy 
in goggles! having been struck on his eyes by a cricket ball. 
He excels in the game, as in everything. I never saw such roses 
as S. had on her dinner-table. I suppose other people have as 
good, but she arranges them, or inspires their arrangement, with 
peculiar taste. Her party was very successful, the guests wd. 
not go, but stayed till nearly midnight, the test of an agreeable 
dinner party. 

I wd. not go to Dorchester House, where there was a great 
festival. I told S. I shd. tell you this, and it wd. please you. 
She also was prudent and did not go either. 

July 25. . . . Yesterday I dined at Holland House ; a banquet 
4 and 20 at least. As they were all grandees, I went out, as 
usual, last, and feared I shd. be as badly off as at Lady A.'s, 
and dine, as I did there, between two men; but, as I entered, a 
faithful groom of the chamber took me under his care, and de- 
posited me, by the instructions of the lady of the house, next 
to - S. ! She had been taken out by Lord Stanhope. It was a 
most delightful dinner, and a most charming evening. We had 
Mr. Corney Grain to amuse us, with his songs and mimicry, 
and some were quaint and good. S. immensely enjoyed them. 
The Grand Mecklenburgs were there, the blind Duke in fits of 
laughter; Duke of Sutherland; the Ilchesters who, by an ar- 


rangement, accede to Holland House on the demise of its present 
genial lady; the Malmesburys; some distinguished foreigners, 
of course, who knew me years ago. 

I had a dreadful accident to my brougham in the evening, and 
I fear I shall lose my beautiful horse, the Baron, for whom I 
gave 300 gu[ine]as, four years ago, and who has never been ill 
a single hour. 

Bradford was most kind, as, I must say, he always is to me, 
and took me home with S. and Mabel. It was such a happy day 
that I did not care much for any accident. 

I have 8 and 40 hours' distraction from heavy and anxious 
affairs. I shall manage them, but they are hard. 

I meet S. at dinner to-day at the Sturts, her great friends; 
and then the curtain falls. 

July 28. I can't write letters, not even tels. I live in a 
storm at the House morning and night ; glad to get off for 12 
hours a day; Cabinets early in the morning; called out for 
ceaseless interviews : much fright and confusion but I am cool 
and have no fear. 

I see, as from a tower, the end of all. 

Never mind The Times; it will soon change. I will beat even 
your Times, wh. I know you are always afraid of; so is dear S. 

Amid all this, the servant perpetually comes in, and an- 
nounces, ' fruit from Bretby,' ' flowers from B.,' ' butter from B.' 
Blessed Bretby! and I can only send you in return my love. 

It was the cue of the Opposition to represent the legisla- 
tion of the session as petty and valueless, because in two 
of the principal measures, the Artisans' Dwellings Bill and 
the Agricultural Holdings Bill, the principle of compulsion 
was not admitted. In both cases a new departure was made 
in English legislation, and Disraeli strenuously upheld the 
wisdom of proceeding at first by way of permission, rather 
than of compulsion. ' Permissive legislation,' he said on L 
the Agricultural Bill, * is the character of a free people. 
It is easy to adopt compulsory legislation when you have 
to deal with those who only exist to obey; but in a free 
country, and especially in a country like England, you must 
trust to persuasion and example as the two great elements, 
if you wish to effect any considerable changes in the man- 
ners of the people.' And again, in the House at the close 


of the session : ' It is only by persuasion the finest per- 
suasion in the world, which is example persuasion in 
action, that you can influence, and modify, and mitigate 
habits which you disapprove.' The other charge against 
Government, which resounded through the Liberal press, 
and was even echoed by The Times, was one of Parlia- 
mentary mismanagement, largely based on Disraeli's re- 
fusal to accept the press view of Parliamentary privilege. 
Sir Henry Lucy draws a strong contrast between Disraeli's 
success in the Commons in the early part of the session, and 
what he considers his failure and feebleness after the 
privilege question had been raised. It is possible that Dis- 
raeli's regular participation in the social events of the season 
may to some extent have exhausted the energy which should 
have been directed to Parliamentary management; it is 
also possible that Sir Henry, whose contrast on this point 
is too much heightened to be convincing, was biassed both 
by his Liberalism and by his sympathy with the press. 
In any case a great mass of beneficent social legislation was 
enacted amid the plaudits of the working classes ; what Dis- 
raeli called a ' crucial session ' was successfully surmounted ; 
and the attempt of the Opposition just before the proroga- 
tion to enforce their apocryphal version of events was easily 
repelled. Disraeli himself, in replying to Hartington, was, 
says Hardy, ' full of fire, force, and energy, and wound up 
our sessional career admirably.' 

To Lady Bradford. 

2, WHITEHALL GARDENS, Aug. 7, 1875. . . . I was indeed 
sorry I cd. not reach Bel. Sqre. last night, but Harty-Tarty could 
not rise till nearly eleven. Had he given me 10,000 pounds he 
cd. not have done me a greater service than making his attack. 
I am rarely satisfied with myself, but I was last night almost as 
much as my friends, who were literally in a state of enthusiasm. 
I think I left Harty-Tarty in a state of syncope. He sate quite 
opposite to me, and I cd. see his face the look of wooden 
amazement and the blush of proud confusion. Gladstone was by 
him, "having been kept in town for the occasion ; but the bottle- 
holder was Lowe, who made copious notes to answer me, but did 

1875] A ' CRUCIAL SESSION ' 393 

not dare to rise! They all deserted him. The Times has not 
even a leading article ' to cover his retreat ' ! 

Aug. 8. . . . You will be rather pleased to hear that when 
we met yesterday x Derby said, ' Our first act ought to be to 
thank our chief for closing the campaign by a victory.' 

Aug. 9. . . . N. Rothschild, who knows everything, told me 
yesterday about the coming art. in The Times. It was written 
by Lowe, and shd. have been his answer to me. 

Aug. 10. . . . Notwithstanding the House of C. I ventured in 
trembling, for a division was impending, to call on Lady Hol- 
land, whom I had not seen since the very happy day when she 
called me ' naughty boy.' 

The servant informed me that her L[adyshi]p had ' gone to 
town ' ; she always went on Monday, the only day in the week 
she did not receive. ' I thought you wd. know that, Sir,' he 
added. ' I did not,' I replied, ' nor did I know this was Monday.' 
And I left him staring. 

But my disappointment was fortunate, for the division came on 
instantly on my arrival, and I had the pleasure of supporting 
Geordie Hamilton, who is deservedly a great favorite of mine, 
and who, yesterday, as usual, much distinguished himself. . . . 

We have done capital business, both in Lords and Commons, 
these few last days; and several most important measures, wh. 
they pressed me so eagerly to give up a month ago, have been 

Some capital measures of the Chr. of the Exr. wh. Harty-Tarty 
taunted me with having to give up, and wh. I thought then were 
virtually surrendered, have been carried : but above all, the Trade 
Marks Bill, a measure of the utmost gravity and importance, a 
subject wh. Parlt. has been hammering at for years, and no 
Govt. cd. settle, has been passed triumphantly and will give 
profound satisfaction to the whole manufacturing and commercial 
world. After the approval of the Speech by the Queen this has 
happened, and I have been obliged this morning to insert a fresh 
paragraph in the great document. 

The Times may scold; it may rave and rant; but it will not 
daunt me. I know it greatly influences you, and it rules Anne, 
and that the confidence of you both in me is greatly shaken : but 
you will see that I am right, and very soon see it, and that 
public opinion will decide in my favor. The Queen's Speech is 
a document of such weight and authenticity, dealing only with 
facts, that the nation is always influenced by this sovereign 
summary. . . . 

i In Cabinet. 


Ministers, at any rate, were satisfied with themselves, 
and celebrated their successful session with a more than 
usually hilarious fish dinner at Greenwich. 

To Lady Bradford. 

OSBORNE, Aug. 13, 1875. Bradford has told you all about the 
fish dinner; therefore I need not dwell on it. I put Geordie 
Hamilton in the chair, the youngest member of the Ministry. 
They were all astonished and charmed by him: I was not as- 
tonished, but charmed. I knew my man. It was a perpetual 
flow of wit, and playful humor, and grace; a due mixture of the 
aplomb of the statesman and the impertinence of the page. 

You know he is authorised by me, while he is in the chair, to 
do anything he likes, and say anything he chooses. He is a 
sort of Abbot of Misrule; 'tis a carnival, a saturnalia; the Ro- 
man slave freely criticising his masters; and Cabinet Ministers 
trembled in their shoes before the audacious sallies of this bril- 
liant stripling and subordinate. Part of the hilarious ceremony 
is the investiture of an illustrious order. The decoration is a 
wooden spoon of rather gigantic and pantomimic size. It is 
strictly to be given to the member of the Ministry who has been 
in the least number of Ho. of Commons divisions; practically it 
ought to be the appanage of our stupidest member. Geordie had 
the impudence to award it to me, who sate on his right hand ! his 
lord and master, and who had helped him a little in his wonderful 
summary of the session. Ungrateful youth! 

In bygone days, I remember this decoration being awarded to 
an eminent gentleman, who has filled great posts, and is now a 
member of the Upper House: he was so indignant that he could 
not smother his rage and mortification, and actually rose from 
his seat and left the room. I was not quite such a fool as that, 
but wore my decoration, suspended round my neck by a piece of 
cord for the whole evening, and even dared to vindicate, as well 
as I cd., the order of Spooneys. 

I expected to find that the remaining one of tbe three ladies, 
to whom hitherto I have written for some time every day of my 
life, had also lost her confidence in me ; but that was not so. She 
looks extremely well; ten years younger than when I saw her 
last. She almost deigned to say the same of me, and I tried to 
cough, lest I shd. be commanded to Balmoral, but could not. . . . 

The Queen, I ought to tell you, had ordered the Fairy for my 
special use, in order that I shd. not get into boats; but Monty, 
by tel. to Ponsonby, declined this, as I think it makes an injudi- 


cious distinction from my colleagues, who have been to me faith- 
ful and devoted colleagues. 

It is decided that Adderley shd. leave the Board of Trade, and 
be succeeded by Sir Michael Beach, and that H. Chaplin shall 
succeed Beach and go to Ireland as Secretary. Little George 
Bentinck also must leave the Board of Trade, but I have been 
able, I think, to provide for him. These are great secret?, un- 
known to any of my colleagues, and perhaps will not be an- 
nounced for a month. I need not impress upon you the most 
profound secrecy, always excepting Bradford of course. . . . 

The changes which Disraeli foreshadowed to Lady Brad- 
ford as imminent at the Board of Trade were never carried 
out, save for the removal of Bentinck from the Parliamen- 
tary Secretaryship. Both Disraeli and his principal col- 
leagues, especially Cairns and Nortbcote, felt, after the 
experience of the session, the advisability of strengthening 
the Board, but serious difficulties arose in the way of the 
suggested shuffle of offices. Northcote, with characteristic 
unselfishness, offered to step down from the Exchequer 
and take the Presidency himself, but Disraeli would not 
hear of the idea. ' I think your proposition monstrous,' 
he wrote on August 3. * You are, and ever have been, my 
right hand, my most trusty counsellor; and I look to your 
filling a higher post than that which you admirably dis- 
charge.' The discussions occupied several months of the 
autumn ; and finally Adderley was left in possession of his 
post, but the Board was strengthened by the appointment, as 
Parliamentary Secretary, of Edward Stanhope, the histor- 
ian's son, one of the most promising of the younger Tories, 
whose death some years later in the prime of manhood was a 
real loss to his country. 

To Sir Stafford Northcote. 

2, WHITEHALL GARDENS, Sept. 23, 1875. . . . Adderley has mis- 
taken a letter, which I thought was clear. I lost no time, after 
seeing the Queen, in informing him of my intentions, because 
I thought, if they reached him from any other source, he might 
think himself the victim of an intrigue, which he certainly is not. 

But I have done nothing in the matter, tho* I have labored 


much. I have conferred greatly about it with the Lord Chan- 
cellor, and with Dyke and Sclater Booth, and the result has been 

There are great objections to our increasing the number of 
the Cabinet. It is thought, that Adderley might remain, if 
George Bentinck were removed, and Ibbetson, who has studied the 
railway question, were put in his place, and there is a great ob- 
jection to any great change of any kind. 

The difficulty about an Irish Secretary is immense. George 
Hamilton could not go there with his father V.Roy. Chaplin, 
whom I thought of, is not experienced enough for this nest of cor- 
ruption, intrigue, and trickery. 

I did write to Beach, but after corresponding with the Lord 
Chancellor and conferring with Sclater Booth, the letter remains 
in my red box, six weeks old, and I will break the seal when we 
meet. . . . 

To Lady Bradford. 

2, WHITEHALL GARDENS, Nov. 12. . . . Adderley's business still 
teases me, tho' I have sent word to-day that all must be settled in 
4 and 20 hours, or everybody concerned shall go out. Monty is 
of use to me, being resolute as well as sharp ; but his interference 
is my interference, and I don't want to appear unnecessarily in 
these matters. The Cr. of the Exchequer, to whom I look to 
arrange these things, tho' very clever, is a complete Jesuit, and 
proceeds always by innuendo, wh. coarse natures do not under- 
stand. . . . 

It was during this autumn of 1875 that events occurred 
the insurrection in Herzegovina, the visit of the Prince 
of Wales to India, the purchase of the Suez Canal shares 
which made, in ever-increasing measure, the foreign policy 
and the imperial position of Great Britain the dominating 
considerations in the mind of the Prime Minister and in 
the counsels of the Government. But Disraeli was also not 
without worries in domestic affairs. The Admiralty, after 
consultation with the Foreign Office, issued a fugitive slave 
circular, drafted by the Law Officers, which roused public 
indignation by its apparent reversal of British anti-slavery 
policy; it directed the surrender on demand, within terri- 
torial limits, of a fugitive slave who had sought the pro- 
tection of a British ship. When the storm arose, Disraeli 


acted with promptitude and decision. Derby was about to 
speak at a banquet at Liverpool, and his chief telegraphed 
his wishes. 

To Lord Derby. 

(Telegram) Oct. 6, 1875. The affair is grave. Many letters 
to-day. It should be stated that there is not the slightest change 
in our policy, that the instructions have been referred to the Law 
Officers, who do not agree in the public interpretation, but that 
as there should be no ambiguity on such a subject the instructions 
are at present suspended. Answer if you agree. 

Derby replied that he entirely agreed, and he made an 
announcement in the sense of Disraeli's telegram. Dis- 
raeli called the Cabinet together a few days earlier than had 
been intended, to take action. 

To Queen Victoria. 

Confidential. HUGHENDEN MANOR, Oct. 28, 1875. Mr. Disraeli 
with his humble duty to your Majesty : 

He finds it necessary to call the Cabinet together on the 4th 
of November. The immediate cause is the Admiralty Resolu- 
tions, respecting slavery. 

Although the expressions of Lord Derby at Liverpool, and the 
suspension of the instructions and Mr. Disraeli is responsible 
both for the expressions and the suspension arrested mischief, 
they have not terminated a state of public opinion, with reference 
to this unfortunate affair, which may be dangerous. It has got 
hold of the public mind more than the newspapers would con- 
vey, of which, indeed, your Majesty is aware, for your Majesty 
has already called Mr. Disraeli's serious attention to the sub- 
ject. . . . 

2, WHITEHALL GARDENS, Nov. 5. . . . The consideration of 
the Cabinet yesterday was entirely confined to the slave circular 
and Admiralty circumstances. The Lord Chancellor, as arranged 
with Mr. Disraeli, put the whole question of the instructions 
before the Cabinet, and showed, that they were as wrong in law 
as in policy. The Cabinet came to an unanimous resolution to 
cancel immediately the already suspended instructions, and re- 
quested the Lord Chancellor himself to draw up those, which are 
to be substituted for them. 

A strange affair altogether! That all the Law Officers should 
blunder, and that the indiscretion in policy should have been 
committed by the Earl of Derby !!!... 


After this muddle, it is not surprising to find Disraeli 
writing next day to the Queen that he ' suffers terribly from 
the want of capable law officers. The unfortunate break-up 
of Sir John Karslake's health broke the chain, and we have 
never been able to find an adequate link.' Within a fort- 
night, however, he had secured a team on which he could 
rest with much greater confidence. 

To Queen Victoria. 

2, WHITEHALL GARDENS, Nov. 17, 1875. . . . In consequence of 
the promotion of Sir R. Baggallay, it would be desirable, that 
your Majesty should sanction that of Sir John Holker to the 
Attorney Generalship. 

As high legal talent is wanted in the House of Commons, Mr. 
Disraeli recommends your Majesty to appoint Mr. Hardinge 
Giffard * to the office of your Majesty's Solicitor-General. Mr. 
Giffard is not at present in Parliament, but Mr. Disraeli can 
arrange to bring that about. 2 There is no lawyer in the Min- 
isterial benches, at present, equal to the post. . . . 

To Lady Bradford. 

2, WHITEHALL GARDENS, Nov. 17. . . . Hardinge Giffard is 
Solicitor-General. ... I don't know whether he will turn out as 
strong a man as his friends suppose, but at any rate I shall have 
a lawyer of high reputation, who will be able to state his opinions 
with effect. . . . 

Further worry was entailed on Disraeli, and much cor- 
respondence with the Court and with the Admiralty, by a 
misadventure in the Solent in August. The royal yacht 
Alberta, when crossing from the Isle of Wight with the 
Queen on board, had the ill-fortune to run down the sailing 
yacht Mistletoe with fatal results. Her Majesty was im- 
mensely distressed by the accident, and was dissatisfied both 
with the public comments and with the incidents and out- 
come of the various inquiries which were instituted. But, 
with all his burdens and responsibilities, Disraeli was able 

1 Now Earl of Halsbury. 

2 The arrangement did not prove easy to bring about, and the 
Solicitor-General did not appear in Parliament till the spring of 1877, 
when he was elected for Launceston. 


to enjoy a number of country visits, and even to attend the 
Doncaster St. Leger, where he betted and lost his money. 
When he went subsequently to Sandringham, he had to put 
up with plenty of chaff on this adventure from the Prince 
of Wales. He told Lady Bradford that he denied his losses 
at first, ' having really forgotten that I had been so un- 
lucky and so foolish.' ' Sir,' he protested, ' a sweepstakes 
with some ladies.' * Oh no,' replied the Prince, * I hear a 
good round sum ; paid in bank notes, a rouleau. I always 
thought Bunny was sharp, but I never thought he would 
top all by putting the Prime Minister on a dead horse ! ' 

To Lord Bradford. 

HUGHENDEN MANOR, Aug. 18. I am most obliged to you for 
your kind proposal. If I might, I would offer to come at once, 
I mean next Monday the 23rd, for several reasons 1st I shd. be 
glad to see Weston with unshrivelled leaf ; 2nd because I am never 
happier than under your roof, and with you and yours; and 
3rdly because it would save me some terrible local functions, 
opening a Cottage Hospital for the hundred of Desborough, and 
wh. I wish to foist on the shoulders of Charley Carington, 1 etc., 
etc., the impending sense of wh., I believe, is the cause of my 
horrible despondency, wh. does not become a Minister, who has, 
I believe, less cause for care and anxiety than any man, who ever 
had his hand upon the helm. 

You will never see The Times go wrong for any length of 
time, tlio' it is managed by those who are personally our foes. 
It is managed in this way. They receive daily, I am well in- 
formed, about 300 letters from all parts of the country, and it is 
from these spontaneous, unpaid and unsolicited, correspondents 
that they, after due reflection, derive their cue. The Times 
thought it had caught us napping, and attacked us, animated by 
their own personal feeling, and tbe passions of their social 
patrons, but the 300 letters have poured in since, and they find, 
wh. I believe is a fact, that tbe present Ministry is popular with 
the country. This is the explanation wh. was given to me by 
Baron Rothschild, who is a Liberal and who knows everything. 

Here our harvest is splendid! Nothing less, after all our fears 
and trials; wages high and rising; our local manufacture, the 
chair trade, exporting everywhere, to ' China and Peru ' ! I get 

i Now the Marquis of Lincolnshire. 


2s. per foot for my beech, and can't supply them with the raw 
material. My father got 6d. . . . 

To Montagu Corry. 

HUGHENDEN, Sept. 30, '75.. . . After a short, but satisfactory, 
visit to Osborne, leaving my royal mistress in the highest health 
and spirits, little anticipating the months of mortification and 
anxiety that were then impending over her, I went to this place 
for a week. I crossed the Solent in the now too celebrated yacht, 
which was accorded to me as a particular attention, and it was 
commanded by Welsh! 

From Hughenden, I went to Weston for a week or so, and, 
they x then going to Longshawe, I made my visit to Bretby, 
and joined them again at Wortley, where I passed two or three 
agreeable days, and then I went with the Bs. to Sandbeck, where 
I had a long engagement for the Race week. I left Sandbeck 
and S. on the 18th, when our party broke up, and then I went 
to Duncombe, a place of high calibre. Returning, I passed a day 
with Harlowe 2 *at Gopsal ! S. was jeal. 

I am well, and the old attack once menacing me, I treated it, 
determinately, on my own system, and completely baffled it. I 
have not had much repose: foreign affairs are troublesome, and 
between them and 'the collision,' it has rained telegrams, some- 
times, as the diplomatic phrase is, ' in figures.' S. helped me in 
this, and is very clever at it. She says ' it is immense fun.' 
H.M., I think, has written to me every day, until she went to 
Inverary. You really must put the royal correspondence in some 

I have had a function to open my new church, and on the 
whole, I got through it with less annoyance, than I expected. I 
got the Cheshams, without the prize ox himself, and Carington 
and Harcourt and N. Sturt to meet the Bishop. Lady Ely was 
to have been with us, but continual, and contradictory, tele- 
grams about her departure for Balmoral prevented her, to her 
and our great vexation, for now she does not depart until to- 

I shall see her this afternoon, for I am now going to London, 
preliminarily to a visit to-morrow to Sandringham, a farewell 
visit previous to his departure for India : and I am asked till the 
6th, but this is too long. I was about to enjoy some repose, when 
this command arrived, and on the 9th, the Northcotes come 

There is a great deal of business, official and personal, rather 

iThe Bradfords. 2 Lady Howe. 


pressing, to attend to, and he is the best of my colleagues for 
that sort of work. He can put his hand to anything. . . . 

The prodigality of contributions for my local entertainments 
was remarkable. Bretby and Weston vied with each other in 
cases of roses and nectarines, and peaches and grapes: haunches 
of venison, and mighty hams. When I had got all this, the 
Rothschilds must have stripped one of the glass-houses at Gun- 
nersbury, and all their gifts provided a public dessert. But what 
will surprise, and please, you was a cargo of grapes from Rowton ! 

The restoration of Hughenden Church had been taken 
in hand by Disraeli's new vicar, the Rev. Henry Blagden, a 
young and eager High Churchman, whom he had nominated 
in 1869. Mr. Blagden had not been the patron's first choice 
when the vacancy occurred. Disraeli had begun by offering 
the living to a Devonshire friend whose acquaintance he 
may have made in his visits to Mrs. Brydges Willyams at 
Torquay, the Rev. Reginald Barnes, father of the accom- 
plished ladies known on the stage as Violet and Irene Van- 
brugh. The offer was at first accepted, and the presentation 
was even made out on December 14, 1868 ; but Mr. Barnes 
never actually entered upon the living, apparently because 
he found that the highlands of Bucks would not suit a deli- 
cate man who had long basked in the more genial climate of 
Devonshire. Mr. Blagden's energy, and the generosity of 
Mrs. Blagden's father, accomplished what Disraeli had long 
desired. The Church was a picturesque building, mainly 
Early English in style, with a massive tower containing 
Norman, if not Saxon, work ; but the roof was unsound, the 
tower had a crack extending nearly from top to bottom, and 
the walls were so much out of the perpendicular as not to be 
safe. Blomfield, the architect, recommended a new roof, 
a new aisle with the tower rebuilt at its west end, thorough 
repair of the walls, and a remodelling of the chancel. The 
patron took the alterations to the chancel as his share. The 
work was carried out, birt not without friction, especially 
about the manorial right to a seat in the chancel, which 
Disraeli successfully asserted. Lady Beaconsfield was dead, 
and her husband was too much occupied as leader of Opposi- 


tion and Prime Minister to exercise any personal superin- 
tendence over the operations. 

To the Rev. Reginald Barnes. 

GEORGE STREET, HANOVER SQUARE, Wednesday, June 11 [1873]. 
I am much touched by your letter, and shall, with satisfaction, 
insert your name in the list of our restorers; but as the accom- 
plishment of my wishes is not so near as I had hoped, you will, 
I am sure, not misinterpret my returning to you, for a time, your 
obliging cheque. 

Hughenden, in a parochial sense, is no longer the Paradise it 
was, for nearly twenty years, under the gentleman x to whom 
I wished you to succeed. Parties have arisen among us, the un- 
happy Education Act 2 has brought affairs to a crisis, and, 
among other evils, it delays, and may even prevent, my consola- 
tory intention of connecting the restoration of the church with 
the memory of her, whom I have lost. I thought at Whitsun I 
had settled these differences, but, since my return to town, they 
have broken out afresh; and having a great pressure of public 
affairs on me, and being deprived of the wise and skilful energy, 
that used to regulate my home interests, I sometimes almost 
despair of accomplishing my wishes. 

I trust your health is good in the Favonian atmosphere of 
your lovely county. I always remember Devon with delight and 

Neither the difficulties hinted at in this letter, nor the 
fact that the new vicar felt it to be his duty to protest to 
his patron and principal parishioner against the policy of the 
Public Worship Regulation Bill, prevented the steady main- 
tenance of friendly relations between the manor house and 
the vicarage or the cordial encouragement by the squire 
of the parochial activities of the vicar and his wife. But 
Disraeli wrote of his parson to Lady Bradford, half in jest 
and half in earnest, as a ' rebellious priest,' and he was by 
no means pleased with the elaborate ceremonial with which 
the restored church was opened. In his speech at the sub- 
sequent luncheon, after expressing his satisfaction that it 
could no longer be said of Hughenden that the house least 
honoured in the parish was the house of God, he significantly 

i The Rev. C. W. Clubbe. 2 Mr. Forster's Act of 1870. 

1875] A ' PROTESTANT PHRASE ' 403 

added : ' I trust that we shall show to the country that it 
is possible to combine the " beauty of holiness " with the 
profession of the pure Protestant faith of the Church of 

To Lady Bradford. 

HUGHENDEN MANOR, Sept. 30, 1875. . . . The sacerdotal pro- 
cession was tremendous; not only a banner, but the Bishop's 
crosier, borne, and certainly nearer a 100 than 50 clergymen in 
surplices and particolored scarves. I was resolved not to be be- 
trayed into a speech, and especially an ecclesiastical speech; but 
I was obliged to bring in a Protestant sentiment by way of 
protest. Everything was intoned, and the high altar and its rich 
work absolutely emblazoned with jewels. One lady in Warwick- 
shire absolutely sent a string of pearls, and not mean ones, to 
enrich the altar cloth. 

Nothing cd. be more stupid and misapprehensive than The 
Times remark on Harcourt's speech; wh. was perfectly playful 
and goodhumored, and very happy. It helped us on; he was so 
goodterapered that he wd. not allude to the rather ritualistic 
display, tho' he was glad of my Protestant phrase, wh. saved 
us. ... 

Disraeli had hoped for the pleasure of a visit from Lady 
Bradford at Hughenden in October; but she disappointed 
him at the last moment, and Bradford came alone. 

To Anne Lady Chesterfield. 

HUGHENDEN MANOR, Oct. 14, 1875. I have been very busy, in 
many ways, and out of sorts a little, wh. is awkward when people 
are in the house. So I was not in a vein to write even to you. 

The Northcotes came here on Saturday, and depart to-morrow : 
a long visit, but there was much to do. There never was siich 
an indefatigable worker as the Chancr. of the Exr. 1 Yesterday he 
went up to town, to clear up some points, but returned for dinner. 

Bradford arrived on Monday, in a very good humor. By dining 
late, and retiring early, the day dies. We also managed a couple 
of rubbers. I can't, myself, get beyond that. In the third rub- 
ber my wits are woolgathering: in Downing St., Pekin, the 
Herzegovina, and the Admiralty. . . . 

Your picture at Hughenden was much admired. Bradford 
admired it, and said he wd. have one of S. copied for me, and 

i ' He is quite " a little busy bee," ' Disraeli wrote to Lady Bradford. 


offered me his own. I accepted everything, but as S. wd. not 
come here, I do not know whether she wd. care to have her 
portrait here ; or rather I do believe that she cares nothing about 
the matter. 

I was very busy the morning of Tuesday, and have been so all 
the time, but we managed pretty well. . . . B[ernal] O[sborne] 
came down for dinner, and was, of course, immensely amusing, 
and Bradford seemed really pleased. They played whist in the 
evening, I sitting out, and Brad [f or] d went off to Weston yes- 
terday morning. B. O. departed this [morning], and the Ns. 
go to-morrow. . . . 

The portraits which Bradford promised reached Hughen- 
den early in the New Year. 

To Lord Bradford. 

Private. HUGHENDEN MANOR, Jan. 11, '76. Lady Bradford 
arrived at Hughenden last night; a most charming picture; and 
you have signally added to the many kindnesses for which I am 
indebted to you and to your house. 

It will be the greatest, and the most treasured, ornament of my 
Gallery of Affection; for I shall have no portraits in it, except 
Byron, but of those who have personally influenced my heart 
and life. Those [ ? that] of Her Majesty, after her favorite and 
famous new painter, Herr von Angeli, and that of yourself, will 
soon arrive, and you will find them, I trust, on your next visit to 

Here is a pleasant picture of Disraeli's w.orking day, 
when alone, as Prime Minister, at Hughenden : 

To Lady Bradford. 

HUGHENDEN MANOR, Oct. 18, 1875. . . . I do not breakfast in 
public: I only did that, in the summer, to see you, as I thought 
it was perhaps the only opportunity (and it often was) of seeing 
you in the course of the day, or of speaking to you, wh. you 
always seemed to grudge me. 

I always rise at l /z pt. 7, go thro' my bag, and after my toilette, 
saunter on the terrace, if the sun shines, and review the peacocks ; 
then I go up to my little room (my cabinet), for my corre- 
spondence, and work at that till one. Then dejeuner-, and at % 
past one, the messenger arrives, and as now I am not at home to 
any human being, I change the scene after dejeuner, and work 


at my boxes in the library. It is a favorite room of mine, and 
I like to watch the sunbeams on the bindings of the books. 

Now that you are more knowing in such things, I shd. like to 
show you some of my Renaissance books. My Guicciardini and 
my Machiavelli are, as becomes such writers, modern editions; 
but there are many volumes, of less use no doubt, but of more 
rarity, wh. wd. charm your eye and taste. 

Some day when I have time, wh. I really have not now, for only 
to you cd. I write this, I will tell you about Somnium Poliphili, 
the dream of Poliphilus, one of the most beautiful volumes in 
the world, and illustrated throughout by Giovanni Bellini, as 
only in the Renaissance they could illustrate. But I was de- 
lighted yesterday, as I have been delighted before and after, by a 
thin folio of the sacred time. It is a letter from Cardinal Bembo 
to Giulio de' Medici, opening the Cardinal's grand scheme for 
the nation to renounce writing in Latin and dead languages, and 
dare to form a popular style in their own beautiful vernacular. 
The subject, the author, the beautiful printing, the pages, 400 
years old but without p stain all these are interesting circum- 
stances; but then the exquisite binding with the tiara and the 
keys, and the arms of the Medici, boldly tooled on the side of the 
book for Giulio had, in the interval, become Pope Clement 7 ! 
This was his own copy, and must have been captured and se- 
cured in the famous sack of Rome by the Constable of 
Bourbon. . . . 

2, WHITEHALL GARDENS, Nov. 20. . . . I agree with you in 
liking him [Lord Hartington]. Indeed, I think he is exactly 
the man to suit you; having all the qualities you require and 
appreciate; a certain distinction, only made up of fashion, rank, 
intelligence, and personal influence, and none of that imagination 
and surplus sensitiveness, wh. disturb the cream of existence, 
and wh., tho' for a moment interesting from novelty, are ulti- 
mately found to harass and embarrass life. ' He is easy to get 
on with because he is not spoilt.' We know who is constantly said 
to be ' spoilt,' tho' perhaps most unjustly, and who, therefore, is 
not easy to get on with. . . . 



It was as an ( imperial country ' that Disraeli, when 
laying down his programme in 1872, invited his hearers 
to regard Great Britain; to maintain and heighten its im- 
perial character was the special work at which he laboured 
as Minister. During the early months of his Administra- 
tion the process was mainly silent and almost unperceived, 
though the diplomatic world soon began to realise that the 
atmosphere of British diplomacy under the inspiration of 
Disraeli was different from that to which they had grown 
accustomed since 1869 ; that observance of European treaties, 
respect for British rights, and consideration for British opin- 
ion in matters of European concern, were expected and 
would, if necessary, be enforced. The veil was a little lifted 
in May, 1875, when it was discovered that a wanton renewal 
by Germany of her attack on France would be resented not 
only by Russia but, under Disraeli, by England also; that 
England, with Disraeli Prime Minister, was not prepared 
to regard with indifference Continental complications which, 
though they might not affect her directly, yet would griev- 
ously upset the European balance. A sudden opportunity 
in November, 1875, revealed in a flash the new spirit, and 
immediately arrested the attention of the world. 

The situation of Great Britain when Disraeli was called 
to power was in many ways unsatisfactory. There was, 
indeed, great prosperity at home. Though the social im- 
provement of the mass of the people had not kept pace with 
the increase of wealth, and though there had been so many 
years of abounding trade and good harvests that, in the 


1874] THE SUEZ CANAL 407 

normal cycle, bad times were nearly due, still the immediate 
prospect was good. Abroad, however, the reputation of the 
country had sunk. Looked up to for half a century as 
the leading power in Europe, she had been treated as a 
negligible quantity at the time of the Franco-German War ; 
she had permitted Russia to tear up, no doubt under the 
guise of due diplomatic formalities, the Black Sea clauses of 
the Treaty of Paris; she had so mismanaged her relations 
with the United States as to have to put up with a judgment 
which condemned her to pay preposterously exaggerated 
damages for her negligence during the Civil War. Ger- 
many under Bismarck dominated the European field; but 
for the moment a more serious domination for the British 
Empire was that of Russia in the Near Eastern and Asiatic 
field. While Russian influence in this sphere extended from 
year~lo year, the direct connection of England with her 
great Asiatic dependency of India and with her Australasian 
dominions had been rendered less secure. Since the discov- 
ery of the Cape of Good Hope, the main route from Europe 
to India, and, indeed, the only one, with the exception of 
tedious caravan tracks across deserts and mountains under 
Turkish control, had been for generations by the open sea 
round Africa. In the middle of the nineteenth century 
competition had been set up by the establishment of the 
overland route across Egypt from Alexandria to Suez; this 
involved breaking bulk and was only suitable for passengers, 
mails, and light wares. But in 1869 the journey had been 
absolutely revolutionised by the opening of the Suez Canal, 
which provided the means of a short, and uninterrupted, 
sea voyage from England and Europe to India, Australia,-* 
and the East. Palmerston had realised what a change the *'i 
Canal would make in the defensive position of the British 
Empire, and had therefore opposed the project from the 
first. Disraeli also had opposed it, relying, however, mainly j 
on what he believed to be its engineering impracticability. / 
Gladstone had supported it in the name of progress, ridicul- 
ing the possibility of danger arising from it to British in- 


terests. As the English followed Palmerston's lead and 
refused co-operation, the Canal had been built by French 
enterprise and French money ; it was managed by a French 
company, whose head office was in Paris ; and the shares were 
held, roughly speaking, half by Frenchmen, and half by the 
Khedive of Egypt, the ruler of the country through which 
it passed, who was himself a more or less independent feuda- 
tory of the Sultan of Turkey. The Eastern trade was di- 
verted at once to the new route, and, from the first, 75 or 
80 per cent, of the shipping which used the Canal was Brit- 
ish. Accordingly what became, as soon as it was com- 
pleted, a vital link in British imperial communications was 

J. / < A 

under the control of a foreign company and at the mercy of 
a foreign ruler. Gladstone, who held office during the first 
five years of the Canal's existence, refused, in spite of sev- 
eral opportunities and of the representations of some of his 
colleagues, to take any steps to remedy this unsatisfactory 
position and to secure British interests in the new water- 

Meanwhile Russia was pressing on. both in Europe and 
in Asia. In Europe she had restored her power in the Black 
Sea, had started a menacing Pan-Slavonic propaganda, and 
was becoming as formidable as ever to the Sublime Porte. 
In Asia, in spite of repeated assurances from the Tsar and 
his Ministers to the contrary, her proconsuls were rapidly 
advancing her frontiers by annexing, one after another, the 
decadent Tartar and Turcoman States which occupied the 
country between Siberia on the north, and Persia, 
ghanistan, and India on the south. General Kaufmann, 
became Governor of Turkestan in 1867, captured 
amarkand and subdued Bokhara in 1868, and reduced 
in. 1873, proceeding in 1875 to the conquest of 
north of the Syr Dary-ft In 1870 he opened 
friendly communications with the Ameer of Afghanistan, 
into whose immediate neighbourhood Russian power had 
now penetrated. The Indian Government, to whom the 
Ameer referred this new development, treated it with in- 


difference, relying on the assurances of the St. Petersburg 
Government that they regarded Afghanistan, the frontier 
State across which an invader from the north-west must 
advance to attack India, as completely outside the sphere of 
Russian influence. Kaufmann was therefore able to pro^_ 
ceed without interference in a persistent policy of tampering 
with the Ameer's fidelity to the British connection. After 
the fall of Khiva, Slier AH, the Ameer, felt that the ad- 
vance of Russia made it indispensable for him to know where 
he stood between the two great European forces in Asia. 
He asked for a definite promise of aid from the British Gov- 
ernment in case of Russian attack; and one of the last acts 
of Gladstone's Ministry was to refuse, in adherence to the 
policy of avoiding all intermeddling with . 

Afghanistan,, any definite engagement beyond vague assur- 
ances of support. From this time Sher A.1J 
tated to the RussiaiTside. 

For dealing with difficulties of this kind Disraeli was 
especially fitted by the bent of his mind and the experi- 
ences of his career. It was the fortune of Great Britain, 
at a time when the British Empire in Asia and the highway 
to the East were threatened, to have a Prime Minister of 
Oriental extraction and imagination, whose whole outlook 
had been coloured at the most impressionable period of his 
life by his travels in the Levant, and who had played a large 
and decisive part in the affairs of India in the troubled ^fif- 
ties. Disraeli's personal and anxious attention to the prob- 
lem was therefore assured ; but he necessarily relied much on 
two colleagues, his Foreign Secretary and his Indian Sec- 
retary, Derby and Salisbury. The, intimate political and 
personal relations which had bound him to Derby from the 
first made their confidential co-operation, in spite of seri- 
ous differences of temperament, easy and natural ; but with 
Salisbury, just converted from critic into colleague, the be- 
ginnings of mutual trust had to be created. Disraeli, guided 
by goad feeling no less than by his knowledge of men, set 
himself to win confidence by giving it ; showing abundantly 


the reliance lie felt on his colleague's capacity to administer 
rightly the great affairs entrusted to his care, and his own 
anxiety to help and support him in all difficulties; and re- 
curring, as we have seen, to his advice on many impor- 
tant matters outside departmental work. Approximation 
was aided by the mutual realisation of a great community 
of aim in imperial affairs, and of a considerable similarity 
of temper and method in dealing with them. A lover of 
peace, Salisbury was never afraid on fitting occasion to as- 
sume serious responsibilities which might lead to war; 
resembling in this respect his chief, and having none of that 
tendency to hesitation and procrastination which often 
afflicted Derby at a critical moment. 

In the very first days of the Government we find Disraeli 
making arrangements for combined working with Derby 

| and Salisbury, and following with keenness the Kussian 

"advance in Central Asia, 

To Lord Salisbury, 

BRIGHTON, March 7, 1874. Lord Northbrook's letter is dated 

Feb. 5th. He had then received Sir Henry Rawlinson's mem. 

but does not seem to have received a copy of Lord Granville's 

^despatch to Ld. A. Loftus dated Jan. 7th; but wh. as I learn, was 

| not sent off till the 17th. 

Lord Northbrook cd., therefore, know nothing of the subse- 
quent assurances of the Russian Government; that no such ex- 
pedition, as he referred to, was to take place. 

The despatches of Lord A. Loftus in consequence of Lord 
Granville's despatch, and the concluding despatch of Prince 
Gortchakoff to Comte Brunnow, of wh. a copy was left with 
H.M.'s Government (communicated to Granville by Brunnow on 
the 17th Feb.), contain, on the part of the Russian Govt., a 
complete disclaimer of the intentions, wh. it was supposed to 
entertain at the time when Lord Northbrook's letter was written ; 
this information is, therefore, superseded by what we have since 

The Russians may be lying, but we cannot do more, so far 
as diplomacy is concerned, than obtain from them such pledges 
as they have given. 

But the question arises, have you seen these despatches? I 
have in MS. ; and they are, now, in that form, I believe, circulat- 


ing thro' the Cabinet but it strikes me, that the system of 
communicating such information among ourselves is not a very 
convenient one. 

The whole correspondence is in print at the F. O. by this time, 
and a copy will, of course, be sent to each Cab. Minister. This 
by the way. 

It seems to me, that a private communication to you from the 
Viceroy should be treated as a private letter from an Ambassador 
to the For. Secy, of State. It is always forwarded to the P. 
Minister, but not circulated, unless it leads to questions of in- 
stant business and responsibility. 

In the instance of Northbrook's letter, had it been sent oil to 
me immediately, I should have requested you and Lord Derby 
to have met me at D. S. and then we would have ascertained 
exactly how we stood. There ought to be some system, especially 
in these times, when the Secretaries of State for F. O. and 
India should be able to communicate with more promptitude, and, 
if necessary, reserve, than at present seems the habit. I do not, 
at this moment, see any better system, than that which I have 
intimated but we will talk the matter over together, and I 
doubt not will arrive at a sound conclusion. 

I question, also, the expediency of sending despatches, like 
Lord Northbrook's, in a common circulation box, except marked 
1 strictly confidential.' In these days, every private secy, has a 
Cabinet key, I believe perhaps I might add, I fear; and we 
should encourage some processes of reserve. 

I feel confident you will not be offended by the frankness of 
these remarks. They are literally current e calamo, and are jotted 
down rather for our future joint consideration, than in any spirit 
of pedantic over-regulation. . . . 

Not merely the Central Asian question, but also that of 
the J3uez Canal, was forced on Disraeli's attention immedi- 
ately on assuming office. Ferdinand de Lesseps, the great 
Frenchman who had conceived and executed the work, had 
hitherto failed to make it remunerative, and had in conse- 
quence given the Gladstone Government those opportunities 
of securing British interests in the Canal which they had 
neglected to utilise. His latest resource had been to in- 
crease the tonnage duties from which the company de- 
rived its revenue by levying them on a novel basis which 
the maritime nations, and especially Great Britain, con- 


sidered not to be warranted by the terms of the concession, 
and which, early in 1874, had been condemned as illegal 
by an International Commission. Lesseps defied the Com- 
mission and the British Admiralty, insisted that no ship 
should be let through the Canal which did not pay on the 
higher scale, and was only reduced to reason by the mobilisa- 
tion by the Khedive of 10,000 men to evict the company. 

To Lord Derby. 

WHITEHALL G., April 23, 1874. The Lesseps affair is getting 
serious; he has gone to Jerusalem to get out of the way, but 
there is little doubt he intends mischief, at least what we call 
mischief, for, so far as I can judge, the law is on his side. 

I do not like to contemplate the Canal being shut up for 
months, wh. will probably be the case. 

Could we advise the Porte to postpone the enforcement of tbeir 
regulations for one month; and, in the interval, make an ar- 
rangement ? Lesseps is ' tou jours pret de negocier sur la base 
du droit.' His self-love would be spared and soothed, if you 
took the matter in hand, and you would gain European glory. 

My own opinion is that tbe ultimate and proper solution would 
be an International Commission, like that of the mouths of the 

From Lord Derby. 

Private. F. O., April 24, 1874. Read Col. Stokes's mem. on 
the Suez Canal. . . . You will see in this the true explanation 
of Lesseps's conduct. The surtax question is little more than a 
pretext. Our engineers were right as to the difficulty of keeping 
up the Canal when made. Port Said is silting up, and cannot 
be maintained in a state of efficiency without an outlay greater 
than the company can afford, except at an absolute sacrifice of 
profit for years to come. In fact, the undertaking is all but 
bankrupt: and M. L[esseps] is probably well pleased at having 
an excuse to get out of it. 

We cannot let the Canal go to ruin : it is too useful to us. 
Stokes suggests buying out the shareholders, by guaranteeing 
them a fixed dividend, and working the Canal through the agency 
of an International Commission. There are difficulties in the 
way, obvious and grave; but things really look as if this were 
the only way out of the scrape. . . . 

Our course is plain. Lesseps has put himself in the wrong, 
all the Powers are agreed in saying so (even France) : and we 


From a photograph by the London Stereoscopic Co. 


must maintain our decision. That does not preclude his being 
fairly, and even generously treated. But you must bear in 
mind, in considering his recent sayings and doings, that the 
thing is a commercial failure, utter and hopeless, and that he 
knows it. 

Disraeli did not rest content with solving the immediate 
difficulty. He made up his mind to secure British in- 
terests in the new waterway by obtaining some control over 
the company, whose ' bankrupt ' state seemed to provide an 
opportunity. He went to work, not through the regular 
diplomatic agency, but by the private methods which he 
had used in the Government of 1858-1859, when he had sent 
Earle on a mission to Napoleon III. It was, on one side, 
a financial matter, and he invited in May the aid of the 
prince of financiers, his old friend Baron Lionel de Roths- 
child; with the result that Rothschild's eldest son, M.P. 
for Aylesbury, and afterwards Lord Rothschild, went over 
to Paris to intimate to Lesseps that the British Government 
were prepared to purchase the Canal if suitable terms could 
be arranged. The mission was a failure. French patriotic 
feeling, then reviving after the disasters of the war of 1870, 
was not disposed to tolerate any surrender of French rights 
over a French canal ; and Lesseps, after his repeated rebuffs 
by England in past years, and his quarrel with the British 
Government and British shipowners over the tonnage ques- 
tion, was in no mood to renew his previous offers. Disraeli 
was disappointed, but waited his time, keeping constantly 
in touch with the Canal authorities. ' On more than one 
occasion/ he told the House of Commons in 1876, ' M. de 
Lesseps came over here himself, and entered into commu- 
nication with us as he had before with our predecessors, 
but there was no possible means of coming to any settle- 
ment which would be satisfactory to the proprietary.' 

In the comparative calm of the first eighteen months of 
the Disraeli Administration, a few episodes in foreign 
affairs attract attention, and may serve to indicate the 
Prime Minister's aims and methods. A visit to London, 


during the first session, of the Tsar Alexander, whose 
daughter had just been married to Queen Victoria's second 
son, the Duke of Edinburgh, was the occasion of a difficulty 
with the Court, which Disraeli was able to settle in such a 
fashion as to command the admiration of his colleagues, 
and to contribute materially to the maintenance of friendly 
relations with Russia. The Emperor's visit was to be 
prolonged for a couple of days beyond the date fixed by 
the Queen for entering upon that spring sojourn at Balmoral 
which her physicians prescribed for her health; and Her 
Majesty refused at first to modify her plans. 

From Lord Derby. 

Private. F. O., May 4, 1874. The more I think of the mat- 
ter, and the more I hear what is said, the stronger becomes my 
conviction that the Queen's going away during her guest's stay 
in England will really make a serious trouble. It will be talked 
of everywhere as an instance of incivility so marked as to 
appear intentional: it will be resented by the Russians, who are 
as touchy as Yankees, and for the same reason : it will entirely 
destroy whatever good result may be expected from the marriage 
and the visit : in India it will be taken up by the native press 
much of which is nearly as seditious as that of Ireland as a 
; proof that the two countries are not really on good terms; and 
what possible excuse can we make? Not health, for if the great 
lady can bear 5 days of ceremonies she can bear 7: not public 
: business, for what has she to do at Balmoral? It is ... the less 
excusable because, of all persons connected with the reception, she 
will have the least personal trouble. 

As a rule, I try always to keep matters which concern the Gov- 
ernment, and matters which concern the Court, as far apart as 
possible : but it is not always possible : and if there is a row, part 
of the blame will fall on us. 

Do try what you can to set this business right. Nobody can 
have managed the lady better than you have; but is there not 
just a risk of encouraging her in too large ideas of her personal 
power, and too great indifference to what the public expects? I 
only ask : it is for you to judge. 

To Lady Bradford. 

Ho. OF COMM., May 5. My head is still on my shoulders. 
The great lady has absolutely postponed her departure! Every- 


body had failed, even the Prince of Wales; but she averted her 
head from me at least I fancied so at the drawing room to- 
day, and I have no doubt I am not in favor. I can't help it. 
Salisbury says I have saved an Afghan War, and Derby compli- 
ments me on my unrivalled triumph. . . . 

From Queen Victoria. 

May 7. . . . [The Queen] feels much the kindness of Mr. 
Disraeli as expressed to herself and Sir William Jenner on the 
occasion of the delay of her departure for Scotland. ... It is 
for Mr. Disraeli's sake and as a return for his great kindness that 
she will stop till the 20th. . . . The Queen thinks Lord Derby 
and Lord Salisbury have little knowledge of what is the etiquette 
between Sovereigns. 

Disraeli took his full share in the festivities held in 
honour of the Russian visit. 

To Anne Lady Chesterfield. 

2, WHITEHALL GARDENS, May 15, 1874. . . . Yesterday was the 
great festival at Windsor, and really not unworthy of the Crown 
of England. St. George's Hall was a truly grand scene, and 
cd. not be easily surpassed : at least I have never seen it equalled, 
tho' I have dined, in the great days of France, in the Gallery of 
Diana. . . . 

The Emperor is high-bred : dignified, but soft in his manners, 
not that ton de gamison wh. offends me sometimes in the Russian 
Princes, particularly the Cesarevitch, and the Grand Duke Con- 

I only arrived from Windsor to-day at noon. At 3 o'ck. I am 
to have an audience of the Emperor at Buckingham Palace. I 
dine at Marlboro' House to meet him; and I close with a ball 
at Stafford House in his honor! And at ^2 past four I must be 
at the House of Commons! It is difficult to get thro' such a 
day, and I have to change my dress as often as an actor! . . . 

May 16. . . . At three o'ck. the Emperor held a levee of the 
Diplomatic Body and our Ministry at Buckingham Palace. 
There I had an audience, which was an audience rather of phrases, 
but nothing but friendliness to England and hopes that my Gov- 
ernment wd. cherish and confirm those feelings. His mien and 
manners are gracious and graceful, but the expression of his 
countenance, wh. I now could very closely examine, is sad. 

Whether it is satiety, or the loneliness of despotism, or the 


fear of violent death, I know not, but it was a visage of, I 
should think, habitual mournfulness. . . . 

The Government and the Queen did not miss the op- 
portunity to strengthen the bonds of amity between England 
and Russia. Under Derby's advice the Queen expressed 
to the Emperor on his departure her desire for a frank and 
free exchange of ideas at all times, so as to avoid misunder- 
standings between the two countries a desire which Alex- 
ander reciprocated. Disraeli, however, did not believe that 
in existing circumstances complete agreement was possible. 
He wrote to Salisbury on June 2 : 'I have no great faith 
in a real " understanding with Russia " as to our Eastern 
possessions, but much faith, at this moment, in a supposed 
understanding, wh. will permit us to avail ourselves of 
the present opportunity of settling and strengthening our 

Early in 1875 differences about the proper treatment 
of the Spanish Government brought out in high relief the 
characters of four individuals who were shortly to have 
a large share in moulding that Eastern policy by which 
the Beaconsfield Government is mainly remembered. The 
chaos of Republican administration in Spain had culmin- 
ated towards the close of 1874 in a strong movement for 
a Bourbon restoration; and in January, 1875, the young 
Alphonso, son of the ex-Queen Isabella, was proclaimed 
King. Queen Victoria, attracted by the romance of a 
youthful Prince restored by an unexpected turn of For- 
tune's wheel to his hereditary throne, and anxious to sup- 
port the cause of the Constitutional Monarchy in Europe, 
pressed for his immediate recognition, and for the observ- 
ance by the British Government of a very sympathetic at- 
titude to the new regime. Derby, the Queen complained, 
was ' so terribly impartial that he will never express in- 
terest one way or the other ' ; but it was surely wise, in 
regard to a country which had gone through so many revolu- 
tions in the past six years, to use the caution and circum- 


spection by which the Foreign Secretary was, above all men, 
distinguished. Derby was confirmed in his waiting atti- 
tude by the British Minister at the Spanish Court. This 
was Austen Henry Layard, the excavator of Nineveh, an 
old acquaintance of Disraeli's, nephew of the Austens who 
had befriended the young author of Vivian Grey. Layard, 
a Palmerstonian Liberal, had been Foreign Under-Secretary 
in Palmerston's last Administration; and was therefore 
more in sympathy with the Republican Government which 
had fallen than with the Conservative Administration which 
Alphonso established and which necessarily relied on Catho- 
lic support. But in any case he was right in advising the 
Home Government to be cautious, as a formidable Carlist 
insurrection on the one hand and the discontent of the Re- 
publicans on the other rendered Alphonso's prospects doubt- 
ful. The Queen was impatient of these arguments, which 1 
Derby pressed on her with more logic than sympathy, and 
wrote of him to Disraeli as l that very peculiar person Lord 
D.,' who was ' very difficult to manage.' It needed all Dis- 
raeli's tact, and his loyalty to his Sovereign on the one hand, 
and to his colleague and his colleague's agent on the other, 
to steer through the difficulties. He was less disposed than 
Derby to trust Layard entirely, and wrote to Derby on 
January 12 : ' It is unfortunate, at this crisis, we have 
such a man as Layard there. Tho' of unquestionable 
talents, he is prejudiced and passionate, and always I 
will not say misleads but certainly misinforms us ' ; on 
February 20, ' his tone is not diplomatic ' ; and on March 
2, he deprecated ( the exaggerated view Mr. Layard takes 
of the Protestant party and interests in Spain. They really 
are nothing,' Disraeli shrewdly added, ' and tho', when the 
Republican and infidel party is in power, the Protestants 
are permitted to hold up their heads in order to mortify the 
Church, their number and influence are alike contemptible.' 
But, as he told Derby, ' I make it a rule to support every- 
thing which you have well considered,' and therefore sus- 
tained his policy against the royal remonstrances. 


He was, however, especially anxious to promote a cordial 
and sympathetic feeling between his royal mistress and 
his colleague, and succeeded at any rate for the moment. 
The artist, the diplomatist, and the courtier in Disraeli are 
all brilliantly displayed in a letter which he wrote to the 
Queen describing his management of his uncourtly friend. 

To Queen Victoria. 

2, WHITEHALL GARDENS, March 21, 1875. Mr. Disraeli with 
his humble duty to your Majesty : 

He is grateful to your Majesty for your Majesty, amid all the 
cares and pressure of public business, graciously making him 
acquainted with the result of the audience of the Secretary of 
State. It much relieved Mr. Disraeli, for the disquietude of 
your Majesty on this matter has often greatly distressed him. 

He had an interview with Lord Derby after the Cabinet, which 
was at 12 o'clock and lasted two hours. Mr. Disraeli spoke to 
him very seriously and earnestly about affairs, and adjured him, in 
the approaching audience, to do justice to himself, and step out 
of his icy panoply. 

The necessary gulf, between a Sovereign and her Ministers, 
is no bar to confidence and sympathy, and, without these quali- 
ties, it is difficult to see how public affairs in England can be 
satisfactorily carried on. 

Lord Derby did not speak a single word, but, when Mr. Dis- 
raeli closed the interview, he would accompany Mr. Disraeli, and 
when they reached the street door in Downing Street, instead 
of going into the Foreign Office, he offered Mr. Disraeli his arm, 
and would walk home with him, but in silence. 

Mr. Disraeli invited him to enter his house, and lunch. He 
replied he never lunched; it prevented work. And, then, even 
with softness, he gave Mr. Disraeli his hand, which is not his 
habit, and said 'Good-bye, old friend.' 'Dear friend' Mr. Dis- 
raeli assumes Lord Derby would say to no one, but Mr. Disraeli 
had hopes, from this moment, that the impending audience might 
happily bear fruit. . . . 

The points of view of the Queen and the Foreign Secre- 
tary were, however, too divergent to be permanently recon- 
ciled. The Queen pressed for the removal of Layard to 
some other post, and Derby definitely appealed to his chief